Evidence-Based Efficacy Comparison of Tolcapone and Entacapone as Adjunctive Therapy in Parkinson's Disease

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The relative efficacy has not been adequately established for the two catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitors that are currently available for adjunctive therapy in Parkinson's disease; tolcapone and entacapone. A recent Cochrane meta-analysis of 14 studies in 2566 patients, conducted to assess the efficacy and safety of tolcapone and entacapone, found both to be statistically superior to placebo in increasing ON time and decreasing OFF time. The meta-analysis also showed that the weighted mean difference from baseline to endpoint in tolcapone-treated patients was twice that in entacapone-treated patients for both placebo-corrected ON time and OFF time. Withdrawal rates were generally lower for tolcapone. Two additional studies have examined the switch between tolcapone and entacapone. In 40 Parkinson's disease patients with fluctuations who were switched from tolcapone to entacapone, improvements in ON time and reductions in OFF time were approximately twice the magnitude for tolcapone than for entacapone. In a second study examining the switch from entacapone to tolcapone, the results for several exploratory variables also suggested that tolcapone has greater efficacy than entacapone. These findings indicate that tolcapone should be considered in all patients with entacapone-refractory motor fluctuations.

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