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Ann Clin Biochem. 2007 Jul;44(Pt 4):364-8.

Parkinson's disease: the effect of L-dopa therapy on urinary free catecholamines and metabolites.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Crosshouse Hospital, Glasgow, UK. fraser.davidson@aaaht.scot.nhs.uk



L-dopa is an important antiparkinsonian drug. It is a precursor of dopamine and the other catecholamines. Potentially, administration of L-dopa could lead to increased urinary excretion of catecholamines and their metabolites to abnormal amounts. The current study aimed to determine these excretions in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) receiving L-dopa compared with suitable controls. This is the first assessment of the effect of exogenous administration of L-dopa on urinary free metadrenalines.


Using one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), urine catecholamines and metabolites, expressed as mmol per mole creatinine, were compared in: patients with PD who were receiving L-dopa; patients with PD but not receiving L-dopa; and patients without PD who were being investigated for the presence of phaechromocytoma but were found not to have the disease.


Significantly higher values for urinary dopamine, homovanillic acid, free normetadrenaline and free metadrenaline were found in patients with PD receiving L-dopa compared with the other two control groups. In all the patients with PD, these four analytes were significantly correlated with daily dose of L-dopa.


L-dopa therapy can result in production of false positives for urinary excretion of dopamine, homovanillic acid, free normetadrenaline or free metadrenaline and thereby decrease the diagnostic value of these measurements in identifying phaeochromocytoma and related tumours.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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