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J Neurol. 1998 Apr;245(4):223-30.

The effect of tolcapone on levodopa pharmacokinetics is independent of levodopa/carbidopa formulation.

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Department of Clinical Pharmacology, F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., Basel, Switzerland.


Clinical pharmacology studies have shown that the catechol-O-methyltransferase inhibitor tolcapone increases the bioavailability area under the plasma concentration-time curve (AUC) and the plasma elimination half-life (t1/2) of levodopa. The objective of the study was to evaluate the pharmacokinetics of levodopa and 3-O-methyldopa (3-OMD) after coadministration of tolcapone 200 mg with levodopa/ carbidopa in the following doses: 100/10 mg, 100/25 mg, 200/20 mg, 200/50 mg, 250/25 mg (all immediate-release) and 200/50 mg (controlled-release). Thirty healthy male volunteers were divided into four groups: three groups of 8 and one group of 6. Participants in the first three groups received two formulations of levodopa/carbidopa. Each dose was administered on two occasions, once with tolcapone 200 mg and once with placebo (four-way crossover). In the fourth group, one formulation was given on two occasions, once with tolcapone 200 mg and once with placebo (two-way crossover). Dosing days were separated by a 7-day washout. The effect of tolcapone on levodopa and 3-OMD pharmacokinetics was found to be similar with all levodopa/carbidopa formulations. The absorption of levodopa was unaffected by tolcapone in all treatment groups and the maximum plasma concentration (Cmax) remained unchanged. When tolcapone was given with the immediate-release formulations, levodopa AUC increased by 60-90% and levodopa t1/2 by 20-60%. With tolcapone and the controlled-release formulation, AUC increased by 80% and t1/2 by 60%. With all levodopa/carbidopa formulations, 3-OMD Cmax decreased by 80% and AUC by 70% with tolcapone. The tolerability of all treatment combinations was similar. We conclude that adjunctive treatment with tolcapone should have similar levodopa-potentiating clinical effects, regardless of the levodopa/carbidopa formulation.

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