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Scottish medical journal

Duration of L-dopa and dopamine agonist monotherapy in Parkinson's disease.


PMID 23002158

Abstract

The expected duration of initial antiparkinson monotherapy before the need for supplementation is not clearly defined for routine practice. The aim of this study was to define the length of L-dopa (L-3, 4-dihydrophenylalanine) and dopamine agonist monotherapy. The duration of monotherapy and discontinuation rates were investigated in a natural observational setting by plotting Kaplan-Meier survival curves. Out of 345 patients, 180 (52.2%) received L-dopa and 165 (47.8%) received a dopamine agonist as initial monotherapy. Half of the patients starting L-dopa received supplementary therapy with- in 3.6 years (95% confidence interval, 3.2-4.6), significantly longer than for dopamine agonist monotherapy (half required a second agent at 2.3 years [2.0-2.9]; P = 0.00017). Discontinuation of L-dopa therapy was 1%. Dopamine agonists were stopped (due to side-effects like impulse control disorders [6%], somnolence [4%] and light-headedness [3%]) in 20% over four years. The duration and tolerability of L-dopa and dopamine agonists as initial Parkinson's disease monotherapy are defined in this study; this may form part of the information exchange with patients.

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