A Pilot Study Exploring the Association of Entacapone, Gut Microbiota, and the Subsequent Side Effects in Patients With Parkinson’s Disease

Shih Chen Fu, Chung Han Lee, Yi Chen Hsieh, Pei Hua Wu, Sheng Hsuan Lin*, Hsiuying Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background and Aims: Entacapone, one of the most common drugs distributed among patients with Parkinson’s disease, is a peripherally acting catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitor that is used in addition to levodopa to control symptoms. However, there have been negative effects reported against entacapone, namely, gastrointestinal (GI) problems and drowsiness. In this pilot study, we aim to examine the hypothesis that the discomfort induced by entacapone might be originated from the shift of microbial composition by adjusting the effect of levodopa. Methods: The population in this pilot study consisted of 13 PD patients treated with levodopa only and 11 with both levodopa and entacapone. The 16S rRNA gene sequence data were processed, aligned, and categorized using the DADA2. Alpha diversity indices for Observed, Chao1, Shannon, and Simpson metrics were calculated with Phyloseq 1.32.0. Dissimilarities were calculated using unweighted unique fraction metrics (Unifrac), weighted Unifrac, and Canberra distance. Functional differences were calculated by PICRUSt2 based on the KEGG database. Results: Results of 16S rRNA sequencing analysis showed that while entacapone did not influence the species richness, the composition of the microbial community shifted considerably. Relative abundances of bacteria related to constipation and other GI disorders also altered significantly. Functional enrichment analysis revealed changes in the metabolic activity of alanine, aspartate, and glutamate. These amino acids are related to common side effects of entacapone such as auditory hallucinations, fatigue, and nightmare. Conclusion: Our findings provide testable hypothesis on the cause of unpleasant side effects of entacapone, which in the long run could possibly be reduced through gut microbiota manipulation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number837019
JournalFrontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology
StatePublished - 5 Apr 2022


  • constipation
  • drowsiness
  • entacapone
  • levodopa
  • microbiome
  • Parkinson’s disease


Dive into the research topics of 'A Pilot Study Exploring the Association of Entacapone, Gut Microbiota, and the Subsequent Side Effects in Patients With Parkinson’s Disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this