Levodopa has been used to treat some painful conditions and found to be effective in neuropathic pain due to herpes tester in a double-blind study. From our anecdotal observations about the efficacy of levodopa on diabetic neuropathic pain, we designed a double-blind placebo-controlled study to test levodopa in painful diabetic neuropathy. Twenty-five out-patients with painful symmetrical diabetic polyneuropathy were admitted to the study. Fourteen patients were given 100 mg levodopa plus 25 mg benserazide to be taken three times per day for 28 days. Eleven patients were given identical placebo capsules. A blinded neurologist evaluated the patients clinically and performed Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) measurement every week from day 0 to day 28. The results seemed promising and levodopa may be a choice for the control of pain in neuropathy for which we do not have many alternative treatments. (C) 1998 International Association for the Study of Pain. Published by Elsevier Science B.V.