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Methylphenidate and Parkinson's Disease

Information source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Information obtained from ClinicalTrials.gov on June 20, 2008
Link to the current ClinicalTrials.gov record.

Condition(s) targeted: Parkinson's Disease

Intervention: methylphenidate (Drug)

Phase: Phase 2

Status: Completed

Sponsored by: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

Official(s) and/or principal investigator(s):
John G. Nutt, MD, Principal Investigator, Affiliation: Professor of Neurology, Oregon Health Science University
Julie H. Carter, ANP, Principal Investigator, Affiliation: Oregon Health and Science University
Nichole T. Carlson, PhD, Principal Investigator, Affiliation: Oregon Health and Science University


The purpose of this trial is to determine if methylphenidate (MPD), a drug marketed in the U. S. to treat hyperactivity and narcolepsy, added to levodopa, will increase the beneficial effects of levodopa without bothersome side effects in people with Parkinson's disease (PD).

Clinical Details

Official title: Subacute Trial of Methylphenidate in Parkinson's Disease

Study design: Treatment, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo Control, Crossover Assignment, Efficacy Study

Primary outcome: Time "on" defined by tapping speed

Detailed description: Parkinson's disease (PD) is a common disorder caused by the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. The disorder is generally treated with levodopa combined with carbidopa. Nerve cells use levodopa to make dopamine. Carbidopa delays the conversion of levodopa into dopamine until it reaches the brain. Motor fluctuations (the wearing off effects of levodopa characterized by sometimes rapid changes between uncontrolled and normal movements) are a common, and often difficult to manage, source of disability in people with PD.

In this trial researchers will study the effects of methylphenidate (MPD), also known as Ritalin—a drug marketed in the U. S. to treat hyperactivity and narcolepsy—on carbidopa/levodopa and other antiparkinson medications taken orally by individuals with Parkinson's disease who experience motor fluctuations when they take levodopa. The overall goal of this project is to develop better symptomatic therapies for PD.

After 2 screening visits to the treatment clinic to evaluate the wearing "on" and "off" effects of levodopa, eligible participants will be scheduled for 3 admissions to the General Clinical Research Center at Oregon Health & Science University during which they randomly will receive the study drug, MPD, or placebo, along with their usual carbidopa/levodopa therapy and/or other antiparkinson medications. Also, participants will have their parkinsonism (tremor, rigidity, postural instability, and bradykinesia) rated and blood pressure and pulse measured at regular lintervals.

Duration of the study for participants is about 3 weeks and includes 2 outpatient clinic visits (for screening) and 3 inpatient clinic visits (with overnight stays).


Minimum age: 21 Years. Maximum age: N/A. Gender(s): Both.


Inclusion Criteria:

- Idiopathic PD treated with levodopa and experiencing motor fluctuations

- At least 21 years of age

- Male or female.

Exclusion Criteria:

- Cardiovascular disease, psychosis, extreme anxiety, dementia and other unstable

medical conditions.

Locations and Contacts

Department of Neurology, OP-2, Oregon Health & Science University, 3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Road, Portland, Oregon 97239, United States
Additional Information

Starting date: July 2004
Last updated: August 2, 2007

Page last updated: June 20, 2008

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