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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 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 (45 mg/10 mg 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)
Pages (from-to)893-903
Number of pages11
JournalMovement Disorders
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2017


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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