One of the complications of long-term treatment of Parkinson's disease (PD) with levodopa is the development of motor complications e.g. dyskinesia; a jerky, dance-like movement of the body. Generally clinicians add on drugs (to the levodopa regimen) from one of the other three classes of anti-Parkinsonian treatments available (e.g. dopamine agonists, catechol-O-methyl transferase inhibitors (COMTIs) or monoamine oxidase type B inhibitors (MAOBIs)). However, despite trials having shown that these drugs are beneficial compared to placebo, it remains unclear as to the best way to treat patients experiencing motor complications and, in particular, whether one class of drug may be more effective than another.
This review assesses data from randomised trials of the three classes of drugs commonly used as add-on (adjuvant) treatment to levodopa therapy in people with PD who have motor complications. Forty-four randomised trials, involving 8436 participants were identified as suitable for this review. The review confirms reports from individual trials that, compared to placebo, add-on therapy (on a background of levodopa) significantly reduces patient off-time, reduces the required levodopa dose and improves overall disability scores (measured on the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale - UPDRS). However, dyskinesia and other side-effects such as constipation, hallucinations and vomiting are increased with adjuvant therapy.
Indirect comparisons of the three drug classes (dopamine agonists, COMTIs and MAOBIs) suggest that dopamine agonists may provide more effective symptomatic control than COMTI and MAOBI therapy. COMTI and MAOBI have comparable efficacy. There was no significant evidence of differences in efficacy between individual drugs within the drug classes, other than tolcapone appearing more effective than entacapone. However these observations are based on indirect comparisons between trials, so could be due to other factors, e.g. differences in the types of people included in the trials, and so should to be interpreted with caution.
This review highlights the need for large randomised studies that directly compare the different drug classes with patient-rated overall quality of life and health economic measures as the primary outcomes.
Compared to placebo, adjuvant therapy reduces off-time, levodopa dose, and improves UPDRS scores in PD patients who develop motor complications on levodopa therapy. However, this is at the expense of increased dyskinesia and numerous other side-effects. Indirect comparisons suggest that dopamine agonist therapy may be more effective than COMTI and MAOBI therapy, which have comparable efficacy. However, as indirect comparisons should be interpreted with caution, direct head-to-head randomised trials assessing the impact of these different drug classes on overall patient-rated quality of life are needed.
One of the complications of long-term treatment of Parkinson's disease (PD) with levodopa is the development of motor complications. Generally, when motor complications develop, clinicians add in an additional drug (to the levodopa regimen) from one of three other classes of anti-Parkinsonian treatments (dopamine agonists, catechol-O-methyl transferase inhibitors (COMTIs) or monoamine oxidase type B inhibitors (MAOBIs)). However, despite trials having shown that these drugs are beneficial compared to placebo, it remains unclear as to the best way to treat patients experiencing motor complications and whether one class of drug is more effective than another.
This meta-analysis aims to assess more reliably the benefits and risks of the three classes of drugs (dopamine agonists, COMTIs and MAOBIs) currently used as adjuvant treatment to levodopa in PD patients suffering from motor complications. The three drug classes were compared with the aim of determining whether one class of drug provides better symptomatic control than another.
We searched CENTRAL (The Cochrane Library), MEDLINE, EMBASE, PubMed, LILACS and Web of Science, plus major journals in the field, abstract books, conference proceedings and reference lists of retrieved publications.
Randomised trials comparing an orally administered dopamine agonist, COMTI or MAOBI versus placebo, both on a background of levodopa therapy, in PD patients experiencing motor complications.
Two authors independently extracted data on off-time, levodopa dose, motor complications, side-effects, treatment concordance, clinician-rated disability, mortality, quality of life and health economic data.
Forty-four eligible trials, involving 8436 participants were identified. Compared to placebo, adjuvant therapy significantly reduced off-time (-1.05 hours/day, 95% confidence interval (CI) -1.19 to -0.90; P<0.00001), the required levodopa dose (-55.65 mg/day, CI -62.67 to -48.62; P<0.00001) and improved UPDRS scores (UPDRS ADL score: -1.31 points, CI -1.62 to -0.99; P<0.00001; UPDRS motor score: -2.84 points, CI -3.36 to -2.32; P<0.00001; UPDRS total score: -3.26 points, CI -4.52 to -2.00; P<0.00001). However, dyskinesia (odds ratio (OR) 2.50, CI 2.21 to 2.84; P<0.00001) and side-effects including constipation (OR 3.19, CI 2.17 to 4.68; P<0.00001), dizziness (OR 1.57, CI 1.30 to 1.90; P<0.00001), dry mouth (OR 2.33, CI 1.22 to 4.47; P=0.01), hallucinations (OR 2.16, CI 1.70 to 2.74; P<0.00001), hypotension (OR 1.47, CI 1.18 to 1.83; P=0.0007), insomnia (OR 1.38, CI 1.09 to 1.74; P=0.007), nausea (OR 1.78, CI 1.53 to 2.07; P<0.00001), somnolence (OR 1.87, CI 1.40 to 2.51; P<0.0001) and vomiting (OR 2.56, CI 1.67 to 3.93; P<0.0001) were all increased with adjuvant therapy.
Indirect comparisons of the three drug classes suggested that dopamine agonists were more efficacious in reducing off-time (dopamine agonist: -1.54 hours/day; COMTI: -0.83 hours/day; MAOBI: -0.93 hours/day; test for heterogeneity between drug classes P=0.0003) and levodopa dose (dopamine agonist: -116 mg/day; COMTI: -52 mg/day; MAOBI: -29 mg/day; test for heterogeneity between drug classes P<0.00001). UPDRS scores also improved more with dopamine agonists than with COMTI or MAOBI (UPDRS total scores - dopamine agonist: -10.01 points versus COMTI: -1.46 points versus MAOBI: -2.20 points; test for heterogeneity between drug classes P<0.00001), although more dyskinesia were seen with dopamine agonists (OR 2.70) and COMTI (OR 2.50) than with MAOBI (OR 0.94) (test for heterogeneity between drug classes P=0.009). Although the increase in the overall incidence of side-effects was generally more marked with dopamine agonists (OR 1.52) and COMTI (OR 2.0) than with MAOBI (OR 1.32), heterogeneity between drug classes was only of borderline significance (P=0.07).