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ACS Chem Neurosci. 2014 Dec 17;5(12):1192-7. doi: 10.1021/cn5001759. Epub 2014 Oct 10.

Classics in chemical neuroscience: levodopa.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences , Nashville, Tennessee 37204, United States.


Levodopa was the first and most successful breakthrough in the treatment of Parkinson's disease (PD). It is estimated that PD affects approximately 1 million people in the United States alone. Although PD was discovered in 1817, prior to levodopa's discovery there was not an effective treatment for managing its symptoms. In 1961, Hornykiewicz pioneered the use of levodopa to enhance dopamine levels in the striatum, significantly improving symptoms in many patients. With the addition of carbidopa in 1974, the frequency of gastrointestinal adverse drug reactions (ADRs) was significantly reduced, leading to the modern treatment of PD. Although levodopa treatment is more than 50 years old, it remains the "gold standard" for PD treatment. This Review describes in detail the synthesis, metabolism, pharmacology, ADRs, and importance of levodopa therapy to neuroscience in the past and present.


Levodopa; Parkinson’s disease; carbidopa; dopamine; dopamine replacement; l-dopa

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