Behavioral hyposensitivity to repeated apomorphine administration has been observed in fluctuating parkinsonian patients. To investigate whether a similar phenomenon occurs in patients never treated with levodopa, we studied the response to apomorphine in 20 de novo patients with Parkinson's disease. Six patients showed no or minimal improvement after apomorphine injections (maximal dose 3.5 mg). Fourteen patients responded and were then given up to four repeated subcutaneous injections of apomorphine [minimal effective dose (MED)]. The responses of de novo patients were compared with responses in 10 patients with motor fluctuations previously studied by the same protocol. There was no significant difference in latency and duration of motor responses after repeated apomorphine injections in de novo patients. MED was similar in de novo and fluctuating patients, but duration of improvement induced by each apomorphine bolus was longer in the de novo group. These results indicate that response duration to apomorphine is longer in previously untreated patients and that behavioral tolerance associated with pulsatile dopaminergic stimulation by apomorphine occurs mainly in patients with more advanced disease under chronic levodopa therapy.
- Motor fluctuations
- Untreated Parkinson's disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Pharmacology (medical)