Background and ObjectivesThe Levodopa in EArly Parkinson's Disease (LEAP) study enabled us to conduct post hoc analyses concerning the effects of levodopa in patients with early Parkinson disease.MethodsThe LEAP study was a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, delayed-start trial in which patients with early Parkinson disease were randomized to receive levodopa/carbidopa 300/75 mg daily for 80 weeks (early-start group) or to placebo for 40 weeks followed by levodopa/carbidopa 300/75 mg daily for 40 weeks (delayed-start group). We analyzed the effect of levodopa with the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale on bradykinesia, rigidity, and tremor. At week 80, participants answered 3 questions regarding motor response fluctuations.ResultsA total of 222 patients were randomized to the early-start group (mean ± SD age at baseline 64.8 ± 8.7 years; 71% male) and 223 to the delayed-start group (mean ± SD age at baseline 65.5 ± 8.8 years; 69% male). The difference between the early-and delayed-start groups in mean change from baseline to week 4, expressed as Hedges g effect size, was-0.33 for bradykinesia,-0.29 for rigidity, and-0.25 for tremor (for all symptoms indicating a small effect in favor of the early-start group); from baseline to week 22, respectively,-0.49,-0.36, and-0.44 (small to medium effect); and from baseline to week 40, respectively,-0.32,-0.19, and-0.27 (small effect). At 80 weeks, fewer patients in the early-start group (46 of 205 patients, 23%) experienced motor response fluctuations than patients in the delayed-start group (81 of 211, 38%; p < 0.01).DiscussionIn patients with early Parkinson disease, levodopa improves bradykinesia, rigidity, and tremor to the same order of magnitude. For all 3 symptoms, effects were larger at 22 weeks compared with 4 weeks. At 80 weeks, there were fewer patients with motor response fluctuations in the group that had started levodopa earlier.Classification of EvidenceThis study provides Class II evidence that the effect of levodopa on bradykinesia, rigidity, and tremor is larger after 22 weeks compared with 4 weeks of treatment.Trial Registration InformationISRCTN30518857, EudraCT number 2011-000678-72.