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April 2, 1973

Oxybate Sodium For Parkinsonism

Author Affiliations

Brookhaven National Laboratory Upton, Long Island, NY

JAMA. 1973;224(1):130. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220140098027

To the Editor.—  One of the explanations for the symptomatic improvement of parkinsonism by levodopa is that striatal dopamine,1 which is abnormally low in the brains of untreated patients2 becomes repleted. Since, however, the striatum is not the only cerebral site capable of dopamine synthesis, it was thought that cerebral side effects of levodopa might be due to ectopically produced dopamine.3 Increases of dopamine exclusively in the striatum have been reported following administration of oxybate sodium to animals.4-6 Intravenous injections of this substance, furthermore, have improved the tremor, the rigidity, and the akinesia of patients with parkinsonism.7 These facts might assume therapeutic importance if oral administration of oxybate sodium improved the symptoms in otherwise untreated parkinsonian patients or in those receiving levodopa with suboptimal results. Such a trial is reported here.Eight patients with idiopathic parkinsonism and one with postencephalitic disease were admitted into a