Levodopa + carbidopa + entacapone. Entacapone: a second look: new preparations. Parkinson's disease: a modest effect.Prescrire Int. 2005 Apr; 14(76):51-4.PI
(1) If patients with Parkinson's disease treated with levodopa develop end-of-dose motor fluctuations, the standard therapy is to add bromocriptine, a dopamine receptor agonist, to their ongoing treatment. (2) Evaluation data available in 1999 on entacapone, a catechol-o-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitor, failed to show whether the balance of benefits versus harm was at least equivalent to that of bromocriptine. (3) Entacapone is now also available as a triple fixed-dose combination with levodopa + carbidopa. (4) Three double-blind trials have compared triple combinations of levodopa + carbidopa (or benserazide) + entacapone with levodopa + carbidopa (or benserazide) + placebo. Two of these trials showed an increase of about 1 hour in "on" phases during the day, together with a small reduction in the daily dose of levodopa. These results are consistent with earlier studies. (5) Entacapone has still not been compared with a dopamine agonist. (6) The fixed-dose combination of levodopa + carbidopa + entacapone has been compared with unfixed combinations in two unblinded trials only. (7) These two trials showed that efficacy was similar whether entacapone was used separately or included in a fixed-dose combination with levodopa + carbidopa. The only relevant trial (a non randomised cross-over trial) failed to show patient preference for the fixed-dose combination. (8) In France, a short-acting combination of levodopa and carbidopa is available, with a dose ratio of 10:1. This compares to a ratio of 4:1 for levodopa and carbidopa in the fixed-dose combination of levodopa + carbidopa + entacapone. The dose of carbidopa is therefore higher for a given dose of levodopa, provoking more dyskinesias and nausea. (9) Entacapone can cause drowsiness. Cases of cholestatic hepatitis have also been reported. Risks of liver toxicity, rhabdomyolysis and neuroleptic malignant syndrome remain to be determined. (10) In practice, bromocriptine remains the first-choice for adjunctive therapy when levodopa becomes ineffective.