What is Carbidopa and Levodopa?
Carbidopa and Levodopa, also sold under the brand names Sinemet and Syndopa (made by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals) among a host of several other brands, is a combination medicine (having Carbidopa and Levodopa) prescribed for the treatment of symptoms of Parkinson’s disease like muscle stiffness, tremors, spasms, and poor muscle control.
Levodopa is converted into dopamine in the brain, a chemical whose low levels cause symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Carbidopa stops the premature breakdown of Levodopa before it can reach the brain and take effect.
Important Information about Carbidopa and Levodopa
Do not take Carbidopa and Levodopa anti Parkinson’s disease medication (Sinemet, Syndopa) if you have used an MAO inhibitor like furazolidone, isocarboxazid, phenelzine, or tranylcypromine in the last couple of weeks. You should also not take this medication if you are allergic to Carbidopa, Levodopa, or Entacapone, or if you have narrow angle glaucoma, abnormal skin lesions, or a history of melanoma (skin cancer).
If you are already taking Levodopa (medicine containing only Levodopa), you must stop taking it at least 12 hours before you start taking Carbidopa and Levodopa combination medicine. This medicine causes sleepiness and can make you to fall asleep amidst normal daytime routines like walking, talking, eating, or driving. You may fall asleep suddenly, even if you are feeling absolutely fine and alert. Let your doctor know about your daytime sleepiness or drowsiness.
Notify your doctor in advance if you have any other medical conditions, especially heart disease, high blood pressure, asthma, or other breathing problems, liver or kidney disease, a hormonal disease, an ulcer, glaucoma, or mental illness. You must also inform your doctor about all your present medications.
Some people taking medicines for Parkinson’s disease have been reported to have developed melanoma (skin cancer). Talk to your doctor about this and ask him or her about your individual risks. Carbidopa and Levodopa combination medication is an FDA pregnancy category C drug. It is not known if this medication can harm an unborn baby if it is used while being pregnant. This medication can pass into breast milk and harm a nursing baby. Notify your doctor in advance if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breast feeding a baby.
While taking Carbidopa and Levodopa, you may have elevated sexual urges, unusual gambling urges, or other intense urges. Do inform your doctor about this. This medication may also cause hallucinations. It may take several weeks or months for this medicine to show effect and improve your symptoms. For best results, take Carbidopa and Levodopa combination medicine regularly as directed by your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without your doctor’s advice.
Before taking Carbidopa and Levodopa
Before taking Carbidopa and Levodopa, take care of all precautions mentioned above. Discuss them with your doctor and clear all doubts which you may have about this drug.
How should I take Carbidopa and Levodopa?
Take Carbidopa and Levodopa anti Parkinson’s disease medication (Sinemet, Syndopa) strictly according to your doctor’s direction or according to the instructions on the medication label. Do not alter the dosage unless your doctor advises you to do so. Also, do not take this medication after the prescribed period is over. All medications come with a patient leaflet. Refer the instructions in them for detailed information on that particular medication.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of Carbidopa and Levodopa, take it as soon as you remember. Don’t take the missed dose if the time to take the next dose is almost up. Taking multiple doses near to each other can lead to excess medication in your body which can be harmful.
What if I overdose?
In case of an overdose of Carbidopa and Levodopa, get emergency medical attention or call the Doctor immediately. Overdose may lead to symptoms such as irregular heartbeat, muscle spasms, or convulsions.
Things and Activities to avoid while taking Carbidopa and Levodopa
Carbidopa and Levodopa may impact your thinking capabilities and reflexes. So take extra care while indulging in activities that require a high degree of mental awareness and thinking such as driving. Also avoid getting up quickly from lying or sitting position as it will make your dizzy and may result in a fall.
You must not take iron supplements or a high protein diet while taking Carbidopa and Levodopa. Protein rich foods may hinder the proper absorption of this medicine.
Side Effects of Carbidopa and Levodopa
Some of the common side effects of Carbidopa and Levodopa are diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, drowsiness, stomach upset, appetite loss, dry mouth, or sleeping difficulty. Contact your doctor immediately if these side effects don’t subside after some time or worsen. This medicine may cause saliva, sweat or urine to become dark colored (red, brown, or black). While this is harmless, it may leave stains on your clothing.
Carbidopa and Levodopa medicine can cause some serious side effects, however the likelihood of a serious side effect is rare. Some serious side effects include involuntary movements (twitching of the eyelid), fainting or falling, difficulty swallowing, stomach or abdominal pain, persistent diarrhea, vision changes (blurred or double vision), muscle pain, black or tarry stools, mood or behavior changes, hallucinations, or suicidal thoughts.
The side effects mentioned above are not the only ones that you may experience or witness due to Carbidopa and Levodopa. If you get any serious side effects due to this medcine, contact your doctor right away.
Carbidopa and Levodopa Dosing Information
Carbidopa and Levodopa dosage may depend on a range of factors like age, sex, drug allergies, or seriousness of the condition among several other factors. Your dosage will be determined by your doctor after examining you properly. Remember to follow your doctor’s advice properly for best results.
Interaction with other drugs
Other drugs can interact with Carbidopa and Levodopa medications. Inform your doctor if you already use other drugs, especially these ones: other Parkinson’s disease medicines, apomorphine, cholestyramine, dobutamine, epinephrine, isoniazid, isoproterenol, methyldopa, metoclopramide, papaverine, phenytoin, probenecid, blood pressure drugs, antibiotics, or antidepressants.
However, these are not all the drugs that can potentially interact with Carbidopa and Levodopa. There can be others. You must inform your doctor about all the medications which you may be taking. Never start a new medication without proper medical advice.