Adverse effects of levodopa/carbidopa intrajejunal gel treatment: A single‐center long‐term follow‐up study

Objectives

Levodopa/carbidopa intrajejunal gel (LCIG) is an effective therapeutic strategy to overcome levodopa-induced motor complications in advanced Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, it requires invasive percutaneous endoscopic gastrojejunostomy (PEG-J) and may be associated with serious adverse effects (AE). In this study, we aimed to evaluate long-term AEs related to LCIG treatment in a large homogenous cohort of advanced PD patients.

Methods

One hundred three consecutive PD patients were regularly monitored for LCIG-related, PEG-J-related, and device-related AEs up to 14 years. Incidence of AEs was studied in time applying a time-to-event analysis and Cox proportional hazard model with age, disease duration, gender, and recurrent AE as covariates. Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) was estimated at each visit and compared to HRQoL before the LCIG treatment.

Results

Among 296 AEs noted, 48.8% were LCIG-related, 32.4% PEG-J-related, and 19.6% device-related. While most of the studied AEs steadily accumulated throughout the follow-up period, 24.3% of the patients (95% CI 10.1%–36.3%) experienced PEG-J-related AE already within the first days after the PEG-J insertion. Cox model revealed that older patients had higher probability of psychosis, PEG-J- and device-related AEs (p < .05, p < .05, and p = .02) and suggested increased recurrence risk in those with early PEG-J and device-related AEs. Despite relatively high incidence of AEs, HRQoL significantly increased in the follow-up period (p < .0001).

Conclusion

AEs related to LCIG treatment are common. Therefore, careful patient selection and monitoring throughout the treatment is recommended, especially in those with early side effects. Nevertheless, LCIG significantly improves HRQoL in advanced PD patients on a long term.

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