Background: A wide variety of conversion factors for a levodopa-equivalent-dose (LED) have been proposed for each Parkinson's disease (PD) medication. The currently-used set of conversion factors is based on studies that relied on subjective experience or theoretical assumptions. This set was never validated in patients receiving polytherapy. Objectives: To use real-life data to identify an optimal set of conversion factors independent of prior assumptions regarding clinical efficacy of different medications. Methods: Retrospective analysis of data from 206 cognitively-preserved patients with advanced PD receiving polytherapy before deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery. A nonlinear automated problem solver was used to find a set of conversion factors that, when applied, minimized the coefficient of variation of LEDs in a relatively homogenous cohort of patients. Results: Independent and model-free evaluation of a wide range of possible sets of conversion factors to LED suggested a set of normalized conversion factors for immediate release levodopa (1.00), controlled release levodopa (0.88), and amantadine (1.23). A minimal clinical benefit of entacapone was observed for patients with motor fluctuations. Our analysis could not detect conversion factors for dopamine agonists and MAO-B inhibitors, possibly because their clinical contribution when added to levodopa is limited. Conclusions: Independent from previous studies and prior assumptions we show that the currently-used LED conversion factors for immediate release levodopa, controlled release levodopa and amantadine are largely correct and that dopamine agonists, MAO-B inhibitors and entacapone, given in addition to levodopa, have little additional clinical value for PD patients with motor fluctuations.
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- Parkinson's disease
- clinical pharmacology
- dopamine agonists
- retrospective study