Efficacy, safety, and tolerability of pramipexole in untreated and levodopa-treated patients with Parkinson's disease.J Neurol Sci. 2003 Dec 15; 216(1):81-7.JN
To evaluate the efficacy and safety of the non-ergot dopamine agonist pramipexole in untreated and levodopa-treated Chinese patients with early or advanced Parkinson's disease.
This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study, which was conducted in Hong Kong and Taiwan, comprised a screening period of at least 1 week, a dose-escalation period of 7 weeks, and a maintenance period of 8 weeks (total duration of treatment: 15 weeks). During the dose-escalation period, the dose of pramipexole (or number of placebo tablets) was escalated in a blinded fashion according to a predetermined schedule to the optimum tolerated dose of pramipexole, administered three times a day (minimum dose=0.375 mg/day; maximum dose=4.5 mg/day). This dose was then maintained for the duration of the maintenance period. Efficacy was primarily assessed by the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS). Safety and tolerability were evaluated by treatment-emergent adverse event reports, clinical laboratory test results (blood chemistry, hematology, and urinalysis), vital signs, and electrocardiograms.
Pramipexole was significantly more effective than placebo in reducing the total scores of the UPDRS Part II, Part III, and Parts II and III combined. Approximately 70% of both the placebo- and pramipexole-treated patients evaluated in this analysis were on levodopa. Regardless of levodopa use, the mean UPDRS total scores showed a consistently greater improvement in pramipexole patients than in placebo patients. Mean scores for pramipexole patients not on levodopa showed a greater improvement than did pramipexole patients on levodopa. The mean improvement for the pramipexole/no levodopa group relative to the placebo/no levodopa group at week 15 was 10.93 points (i.e., -14.43 points minus -3.50 points). The mean improvement for the pramipexole/levodopa group relative to the placebo/levodopa group at week 15 was 9.04 points (i.e., -10.26 points minus -1.22 points). Pramipexole was also superior to placebo as measured by improvement in the modified Hoehn and Yahr Scale and a reduction in the number of "off" hours for patients on concomitant levodopa therapy.
Pramipexole is an effective and well-tolerated therapy, with or without concomitant levodopa, for Chinese patients with Parkinson's disease.