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Body Weight Influences Pharmacokinetics of Levodopa in Parkinson's Disease

Zappia, Mario*†; Crescibene, Lucia; Arabia, Gennarina*; Nicoletti, Giuseppe; Bagalà, Angelo; Bastone, Loredana; Caracciolo, Manuela; Bonavita, Simona; Di Costanzo, Alfonso; Scornaienchi, Massimo; Gambardella, Antonio*†; Quattrone, Aldo*†

Original Articles

Changes in body weight may induce substantial variations in peripheral pharmacokinetics of drugs, but the relation between body weight and levodopa (LD) pharmacokinetics has never been investigated in Parkinson's disease. To address this issue, we conducted a pharmacokinetic study with 164 patients with sporadic Parkinson's disease. Patients underwent an oral acute LD test with 250 mg of LD, and pharmacokinetic variables were assessed at baseline and at 30, 60, 120, and 240 minutes after LD administration. Plasmatic-LD areas under the curve and body weight were significantly and inversely correlated as well as the elimination of the half-life of LD and body weight. In our sample, women were significantly lighter and had a significantly greater area under the curve than men. Moreover, a greater percentage of women showed LD peak-dose dyskinesias compared with men. Our findings suggest that lighter patients with Parkinson's disease probably receive a greater cumulative dosage of LD per kilogram of body weight during long-term treatment, because in clinical practice, LD is administered without any adjustment of the dose to body weight. This could explain gender differences for the development of LD-induced peak-dose dyskinesias observed during the course of the disease.

*Institute of Neurology, University “Magna Græcia,” Catanzaro, Italy; †Institute of Neurological Sciences, National Research Council, Piano Lago di Mangone (CS), Italy; and ‡Institute of Neurology, 2nd University of Naples, Naples, Italy

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Prof. Aldo Quattrone, Clinica Neurologica, Policlinico Universitario Mater Domini, Via T. Campanella, 88100 Catanzaro, Italy; E-mail:

© 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.