Influence of Meal Ingestion Time on Pharmacokinetics of Orally Administered Levodopa in Parkinsonian Patients

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The influence of meal ingestion time on rate and extent of oral levodopa absorption was evaluated in a group of 17 patients, after administration of their usual second daily dose of levodopa plus carbidopa (Sinemet 10:1) or benserazide (Madopar 4:1). Standard meals were consumed by the patients after they had fasted 15–17 h, on one occasion 30 min before ingestion of the levodopa “study dose” and, at another time, 2 h after ingestion of the same dose. This study dose, ranging from 50 to 250 mg levodopa, was given to the patients at 11 a.m., 4 h after their first morning dose. Time to peak plasma levodopa concentration increased threefold (from 45 ± 23 to 134 ± 76 min. p < 0.001), when levodopa was administered after meals. Area under the 6-h plasma concentration-time curve for levodopa was decreased in 10 subjects, unchanged in three and higher in four after ingestion of meals, the latter finding probably resulting from an erratic absorption even at fasting. On the whole, levodopa absorption proved significantly lower (p < 0.01), on the average 15%. Similarly, peak plasma levodopa concentrations were lower in 12 patients, unchanged in two, and higher in three, with an overall significant decrease (p < 0.001) of 30% on the average. The data confirm the importance of meal ingestion time in relation to levodopa dose as a determinant of drug absorption.

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