Three of six patients with chronic hepatic encephalopathy treated with levodopa showed a significant improvement. One patient was probably improved whilst the remaining two patients failed to show any benefit. Serial electroencephalography did not demonstrate significant changes. Treatment with levodopa was associated with an improvement in `speed-based' tasks as assessed by computerized psychometry. A significant rise in cerebral oxygen consumption was found during levodopa therapy. Gastrointestinal side effects were dose limiting. It is concluded that a therapeutic trial of levodopa in patients with chronic hepatic encephalopathy is indicated when the response to conventional therapy has been poor.
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