Levodopa, Parkinson’s Disease, and Dyskinesia: The Benefits of Levodopa May Not Outweigh the Risk

The majority of Parkinson’s patients treated with Levodopa experience relief from the major motor effects of Parkinson’s. However, according to a recent article in Biospace, after prolonged use of Levodopa (L-Dopa) dyskinesia occurs in ninety-five percent of these patients. There have also been occasional reports of Levodopa side effects after days or months of treatment.

About Levodopa-Induced Dyskinesia

Levodopa-induced dyskinesia (LID) is extremely debilitating. LID may occur between six to fifteen years after the patient was treated with Levodopa.

The dyskinesia may begin with mild movement disorders in many areas of the body. The list includes, but is not limited to, facial muscles, jaw, tongue, trunk, and limbs.

Luquin et. al. reported that 168 out of 220 Parkinson’s patients who received levodopa treatment developed dyskinesia. Out of the 168 patients, sixty patients developed two types of dyskinesia and sixteen patients had three types. Treatment for most types of LID is minimally effective.

About Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the brain causing stiffness, shaking, and problems with balance, coordination, and walking. The disease manifests itself after nerve cells (neurons) in the brain are disrupted or die.

Neurons produce dopamine and are located in the part of the brain that controls movement. The disruption of the neurons and subsequent loss of dopamine cause restricted movement.

A Parkinson’s patient may experience, among other symptoms, behavioral changes, memory difficulties, and sleep disorders. The disease affects people over the age of sixty. Fifty percent more males are affected than females.

Most often Parkinson’s occurs randomly and does not appear to run in families. About fifteen percent of Parkinson’s patients can trace their disease through their family history.

The Primary Collaborators

IRICoR, The University of Montreal, Valence Discovery, and IRIC are collaborating in the design of drug candidates to treat LID.

If successful, the new drug could benefit five million Parkinson’s patients worldwide. It is estimated that one in one hundred people over sixty years of age are affected by Parkinson’s and almost all of these patients receive levodopa.

Rose Duesterwald

Rose Duesterwald

Rose became acquainted with Patient Worthy after her husband was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia four years ago. He was treated with a methylating agent While he was being treated with a hypomethylating agent, Rose researched investigational drugs being developed to treat relapsed/refractory AML.

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