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Neurology. 1997 Oct;49(4):1066-71.

Tolcapone improves motor function in parkinsonian patients with the "wearing-off" phenomenon: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial.

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Division of Neurology, Royal University Hospital, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.


We studied the new catechol-O-methyltransferase inhibitor tolcapone, 100 and 200 mg, three times daily (tid) in a randomized, double-blind, parallel-group trial involving 202 parkinsonian patients who were experiencing the "wearing-off" phenomenon on levodopa therapy. After 3 months, patients receiving tolcapone had a significant decrease in mean daily levodopa dose requirement compared with placebo-treated patients (p < 0.01). In patients treated with tolcapone 200 mg tid, daily "off" time, measured using patient diaries, was reduced from baseline by 3.25 hours; this reduction was significantly different from that seen in the placebo group (p < 0.01). Moreover, the number of daily levodopa intakes was reduced significantly in each tolcapone group compared with placebo (p < 0.01). We found significant improvements in motor function and overall efficacy in the tolcapone groups (p < 0.01). The most frequent adverse events were associated with levodopa treatment. Dyskinesia developed or worsened in 18% of patients receiving placebo, in 51% receiving tolcapone 100 mg tid, and in 64% receiving 200 mg tid, with most cases occurring within the first 30 days of the study. Diarrhea was the most frequent nondopaminergic event, occurring in 14% on placebo, 13% on tolcapone 100 mg tid, and 19% on 200 mg tid. Overall 18% of patients withdrew because of adverse events: 15% on placebo, 17% on tolcapone 100 mg tid, and 22% on 200 mg tid. We conclude that tolcapone as an adjunct offers promise for the relief of the "wearing-off" phenomenon in levodopa-treated parkinsonian patients.

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