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Parkinson's disease is a progressive, neurodegenerative disorder of the extrapyramidal nervous system affecting the mobility and control of the skeletal muscular system. Its characteristic features include resting tremor, rigidity, and bradykinetic movements. Symptomatic treatments, such as levodopa therapies, may permit the patient better mobility.
Mechanism of Action
Current evidence indicates that symptoms of Parkinson's disease are related to depletion of dopamine in the corpus striatum. Administration of dopamine is ineffective in the treatment of Parkinson's disease apparently because it does not cross the blood-brain barrier. However, levodopa, the metabolic precursor of dopamine, does cross the blood-brain barrier, and presumably is converted to dopamine in the brain. This is thought to be the mechanism whereby levodopa relieves symptoms of Parkinson's disease.
When levodopa is administered orally it is rapidly decarboxylated to dopamine in extracerebral tissues so that only a small portion of a given dose is transported unchanged to the central nervous system. For this reason, large doses of levodopa are required for adequate therapeutic effect and these may often be accompanied by nausea and other adverse reactions, some of which are attributable to dopamine formed in extracerebral tissues.
The incidence of levodopa-induced nausea and vomiting is less when LODOSYN (carbidopa) is used with levodopa than when levodopa is used without LODOSYN (carbidopa) . In many patients this reduction in nausea and vomiting will permit more rapid dosage titration.
Carbidopa inhibits decarboxylation of peripheral levodopa. Carbidopa has not been demonstrated to have any overt pharmacodynamic actions in the recommended doses. It does not appear to cross the blood-brain barrier readily and does not affect the metabolism of levodopa within the central nervous system at doses of carbidopa that are recommended for maximum effective inhibition of peripheral decarboxylation of levodopa.
Since its decarboxylase-inhibiting activity is limited primarily to extracerebral tissues, administration of carbidopa with levodopa makes more levodopa available for transport to the brain. However, since levodopa and carbidopa compete with certain amino acids for transport across the gut wall, the absorption of levodopa and carbidopa may be impaired in some patients on a high protein diet.
Carbidopa reduces the amount of levodopa required to produce a given response by about 75% and, when administered with levodopa, increases both plasma levels and the plasma half-life of levodopa, and decreases plasma and urinary dopamine and homovanillic acid.
In clinical pharmacologic studies, simultaneous administration of separate tablets of carbidopa and levodopa produced greater urinary excretion of levodopa in proportion to the excretion of dopamine when compared to the two drugs administered at separate times.
Supplemental pyridoxine (vitamin B6) can be given to patients when they are receiving carbidopa and levodopa concomitantly or as SINEMET* CR (Carbidopa-Levodopa) Sustained-Release or SINEMET* (Carbidopa-Levodopa). Previous reports in the medical literature cautioned that high doses of vitamin B6 should not be taken by patients on levodopa therapy alone because exogenously administered pyridoxine would enhance the metabolism of levodopa to dopamine. The introduction of carbidopa to levodopa therapy, which inhibits the peripheral decarboxylation of levodopa to dopamine, counteracts the metabolic-enhancing effect of pyridoxine.
Carbidopa is combined with levodopa in SINEMET (Carbidopa-Levodopa) and SINEMET CR (Carbidopa-Levodopa) Sustained-Release tablets. These combination tablets are available in three strengths for SINEMET: SINEMET 10-100 (Carbidopa-Levodopa), SINEMET 25-250 (Carbidopa-Levodopa) (1:10 ratio of carbidopa to levodopa) and SINEMET 25-100 (Carbidopa-Levodopa) (1:4 ratio of carbidopa to levodopa), and in two strengths for SINEMET CR: SINEMET CR 50-200 (Carbidopa-Levodopa) Sustained-Release and SINEMET CR 25-100 (Carbidopa-Levodopa) Sustained-Release (1:4 ratio of carbidopa to levodopa). Clinical trials show that these ratios of carbidopa and levodopa provide useful therapeutic effects in most patients.
Last reviewed on RxList: 10/3/2008
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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