Does the benefit of levodopa for the management of Parkinson disease (PD) decrease over time?

Updated: Jan 24, 2019
  • Author: Robert A Hauser, MD, MBA; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Answer

Patients initially experience stable, sustained benefit through the day in response to levodopa. However, after several months to years, many patients notice that the benefit from immediate-release (IR) levodopa/carbidopa wears off after 4-5 hours. Over time, this shortened duration of response becomes more fleeting, and clinical status fluctuates more and more closely in concert with peripheral levodopa concentration. Ultimately, benefit lasts only about 2 hours. The time when medication is providing benefit for bradykinesia, rigidity, and tremor is called "on" time, and the time when medication is not providing benefit is called "off" time.


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