The long term effects of a de novo treatment with levodopa versus bromocriptine were compared in respectively 13 and 15 previously untreated patients with Parkinson's disease in a prospective randomised trial. Thirteen patients were treated with levodopa alone (mean dose 444, SEM 63 mg daily) whereas 15 others received bromocriptine alone (mean dose 50, SEM 6 mg daily) during 37, SEM 4 and 32, SEM 4 months respectively. For a similar decrease in the Columbia rating scale, the nature of long term side effects was different in the two groups: three patients on levodopa developed peak-dose dyskinesias and one other dystonia. With bromocriptine, one patient developed a severe psychosis whereas 3 others suffered from primary lack of efficacy (1 case) or late decrease in efficacy (2 cases). These results demonstrate the potential of D2 dopamine agonists (like bromocriptine) in the de novo treatment of Parkinson's disease; however, their use is limited by their lack of efficacy and/or the occurrence of neuropsychiatric side effects.
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