We performed a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, crossover, multiple-dose study on entacapone in 25 patients with Parkinson's disease with levodopa (L-Dopa) treatment–related fluctuations. A run-in period was followed by four 2-week treatment periods during which the patients took 4 to 6 daily doses of L-Dopa concomitantly with 100, 200, or 400 mg of entacapone or with placebo. The effects were assessed at the end of each period; the inhibition of soluble catechol-O-methyltransferase (S-COMT) activity in red blood cells and the plasma concentrations of entacapone, L-Dopa, and 3-O-methyldopa (3-OMD) were measured and clinical effects assessed on an 18-hour home diary. Twenty-one patients completed the study. Entacapone decreased the COMT activity from predose level: 100 mg by 25%, 200 mg by 33%, and 400 mg by 32% (p < 0.001 vs. placebo for each dose). Correspondingly, the 3-OMD concentrations decreased by 39%, 54%, and 66% with 100-, 200-, and 400-mg doses, respectively. The elimination half-life of L-Dopa was prolonged by 23% (p < 0.05), 26% (p < 0.001), and 48% (p < 0.001), and the area under the curve of L-Dopa increased by 17% (p < 0.05), 27% (p < 0.001), and 37% (p < 0.001) with the increasing doses. Despite a significant decrease in the daily dose of L-Dopa, entacapone decreased the proportion of daily “off” time: 100 mg by 11%, 200 mg by 18%, and 400 mg by 20% compared with placebo. However, this decrease was not statistically significant for any of the doses in this small patient population. The dyskinetic “on” time did not increase with different doses of entacapone. All doses were well tolerated, and no severe adverse events were reported. The study showed that repeated dosing of entacapone inhibits the COMT activity in a dose-dependent manner and thereby reduces the loss of L-Dopa to 3-OMD. Therefore, the area under the curve of L-Dopa is increased and the patient's clinical condition improved.
*Research Center, Orion Pharma, Orion Corporation, Espoo, Finland; †Department of Neurology, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, Oregon; ‡Clinical Neuroscience Center, Southfield, and Departments of Neurology, Psychiatry, and Behavioral Neuroscience, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan; and §Department of Neurology, University of Miami, Miami, Florida, USA
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Helena Heikkinen, Research Center, Orion Pharma, Orion Corporation, Box 65, FIN-02101 Espoo, Finland.