BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: In patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) with motor fluctuations, total daily OFF time is comprised of both end-of-dose time and the time taken to turn ON with medication. However, little is known about the impact of delays in ON time.
METHODS: This was a single-visit pilot study of fluctuating patients with PD attending a routine appointment. During a single visit, adult patients with idiopathic PD who were treated with levodopa for at least 1 year completed a questionnaire evaluating the time waiting for ON and the symptoms experienced while waiting to turn ON. Patients then completed a 5-day home time-to-ON diary, where they documented how long it took to turn ON following their first morning dose of levodopa in 5-min increments.
RESULTS: A total of 151 consecutive patients completed the study survey, of whom 97 (64.2%) experienced motor fluctuations. Of the patients experiencing motor fluctuations, 54 (56%) reported delays in ON time (latency >30 min) following their first morning dose of levodopa. Half (51%) reported that they had experienced delayed ON at least once in the previous week and 21% reported having delayed ON during all seven mornings of the previous week. In addition, 10% of patients reported having dose failures on four or more mornings during the previous week. The most common symptoms experienced while waiting for ON were slowness (94.8%), fatigue (87.6%), reduced dexterity (82.5%), problems in walking (66.0%) and problems with balance (59.8%).
CONCLUSION: Early-morning OFF problems such as delays in time to ON and dose failures are common in levodopa-treated patients with PD.