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Bromocriptine in Parkinsonism: long-term treatment, dose response, and comparison with levodopa.
  1. J D Parkes,
  2. A G Debono,
  3. C D Marsden

    Abstract

    Thirty-seven patients with Parkinsonism were treated with bromocriptine 2.5-300 mg daily. Bromocriptine, alone or combined with levodopa, caused a 20-30% reduction in disability scores in 11 patients treated for one year. Tolerance did not develop during this period. Bromocriptine treatment was not of value in six patients who had previously not responded or who had lost their response to levodopa. However, in four of five patients with response swings on levodopa due to rapid changes in plasma dopa levels, the addition of bromocriptine caused a more stable response. Dose response curves to bromocriptine 12.5, 25, 50, and 100 mg and to levodopa 250, 500, 1000, and 2000 mg were studied in seven patients. Levodopa 2 g had a greater therapeutic effect and caused a greater rise in plasma growth hormone concentration than bromocriptine 100 mg. Levodopa caused emesis more commonly and hallucinations less commonly than bromocriptine. Bromocriptine appears to be a less potent stimulant than dopamine, and has both pre- and post-synaptic effects. Metoclopramide 60 mg oral was given 30 minutes before bromocriptine or levodopa to establish whether this caused dopamine-receptor blockade. Metoclopramide acted as a competitive antagonist to the anti-Parkinsonism and growth hormone effect of both drugs and in individual cases prevented emesis and hallucinations. The fall in blood pressure due to bromocriptine or levodopa was not antagonised by metoclopramide. Central and peripheral vascular dopamine receptors may be different in nature.

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