Trial of dextromethorphan/quinidine to treat levodopa-induced dyskinesia in Parkinson's disease

Susan H. Fox, Leonard Verhagen Metman, John G. Nutt, Matthew Brodsky, Stewart A. Factor, Anthony E. Lang, Laura E. Pope, Nadine Knowles, João Siffert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background: Nondopaminergic pathways represent potential targets to treat levodopa-induced dyskinesia in Parkinson's disease (PD). This pilot-study (NCT01767129) examined the safety/efficacy of the sigma-1 receptor-agonist and glutamatergic/monoaminergic modulator, dextromethorphan plus quinidine (to inhibit rapid dextromethorphan metabolism), for treating levodopa-induced dyskinesia. Methods: PD patients were randomized to dextromethorphan/quinidine (45mg/10mg twice daily)/placebo in two 2-week double-blind, crossover treatment periods, with intervening 2-week washout. After 14 days, a 2-hour intravenous levodopa-infusion was administered. Patient examinations were videotaped before infusion ("off" state) and every 30 minutes during and afterwards until patients returned to "off." The primary endpoint was dyskinesia-severity during infusion measured by Unified Dyskinesia Rating Scale part 3 area-under-curve scores (blinded expert rated). Additional endpoints included other dyskinesia/motor assessments, global measures of clinical-change, and adverse-events. Results: A total of 13 patients were randomized and completed the study (efficacy-evaluable population). Dyskinesia-severity was nonsignificantly lower with dextromethorphan/quinidine than placebo during infusion (area-under-curve 966.5 vs 1048.8; P=.191 [efficacy-evaluable patients]), and significantly lower in a post-hoc sensitivity analysis of the per-protocol-population (efficacy-evaluable patients with≥80% study-drug-compliance, n=12) when measured from infusion start to 4-hours post-infusion completion (area-under-curve 1585.0 vs 1911.3; P=.024). Mean peak dyskinesia decreased significantly from infusion-start to return to "off" (13.3 vs 14.9; P=.018 [efficacy-evaluable patients]). A total of 9 patients rated dyskinesia "much/very much improved" on dextromethorphan/quinidine versus 1-patient on placebo. Dextromethorphan/quinidine did not worsen PD-motor scores, was generally well tolerated, and was associated with more frequent adverse events. Conclusion: This study provides preliminary evidence of clinical benefit with dextromethorphan/quinidine for treating levodopa-induced dyskinesia in PD. Larger studies with a longer treatment duration need to corroborate these early findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMovement Disorders
StateAccepted/In press - 2017


  • AVP-923
  • Dextromethorphan/quinidine
  • Levodopa-induced dyskinesia
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Unified Dyskinesia Rating Scale

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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