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September 28, 1970

Long-Term Effects of Levodopa in the Severely Disabled Patient

JAMA. 1970;213(13):2270. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170390060017

To the Editor.—  For the past 15 months we have been engaged in a long-term study of the effects of levodopa on 60 severely disabled patients with Parkinson's disease, half postencephalitic and half idiopathic, who have been institutionalized for many years in our chronic disease facility. In common with published reports (summarized in an editorial in Brit Med J1:446-447, 1970) we have found that the drug was effective, though to a varying degree, in the majority of our patients. However, in contrast to these reports we have observed that the period of benefit has been of limited duration and has been followed in all cases by adverse effects, the latter often progressive, sometimes serious, and occasionally dangerous.We have reported some of our observations in preliminary letters to the Lancet1-4 and are now preparing a comprehensive review of our studies. Meanwhile we wish to comment on the