Brand Names: Atamet, Parcopa, Rytary, Sinemet, Sinemet CR
Generic Name: carbidopa and levodopa
- What is carbidopa and levodopa?
- What are the possible side effects of carbidopa and levodopa?
- What is the most important information I should know about carbidopa and levodopa?
- What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking carbidopa and levodopa?
- How should I take carbidopa and levodopa?
- What happens if I miss a dose?
- What happens if I overdose?
- What should I avoid while taking carbidopa and levodopa?
- What other drugs will affect carbidopa and levodopa?
- Where can I get more information?
What is carbidopa and levodopa?
Carbidopa and levodopa is a combination medicine used to treat symptoms of Parkinson's disease, such as muscle stiffness, tremors, spasms, and poor muscle control. Parkinson's disease may be caused by low levels of a chemical called dopamine (DOE pa meen) in the brain.
Carbidopa and levodopa may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What are the possible side effects of carbidopa and levodopa?
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
- uncontrolled muscle movements in your face (chewing, lip smacking, frowning, tongue movement, blinking or eye movement);
- worsening of tremors (uncontrolled shaking);
- severe or ongoing vomiting or diarrhea;
- confusion, hallucinations, unusual changes in mood or behavior;
- depression or suicidal thoughts; or
- severe nervous system reaction--very stiff (rigid) muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors, feeling like you might pass out.
Some people taking carbidopa and levodopa have fallen asleep during normal daytime activities such as working, talking, eating, or driving. Tell your doctor if you have any problems with daytime sleepiness or drowsiness.
You may have increased sexual urges, unusual urges to gamble, or other intense urges while taking this medicine. Talk with your doctor if this occurs.
Common side effects may include:
- jerky or twisting muscle movements;
- headache, dizziness;
- low blood pressure (feeling light-headed);
- sleep problems, strange dreams;
- dry mouth;
- muscle contractions; or
- nausea, vomiting, constipation.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What is the most important information I should know about carbidopa and levodopa?
You should not use carbidopa and levodopa if you have narrow-angle glaucoma.
Do not use this medicine if you have used an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days, such as isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, or tranylcypromine.
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What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking carbidopa and levodopa?
You should not use carbidopa and levodopa if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
- narrow-angle glaucoma.
Do not use carbidopa and levodopa if you have used an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine, and others.
Tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- heart disease, high blood pressure, or heart attack;
- liver or kidney disease;
- an endocrine (hormonal) disorder;
- asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or other breathing disorder;
- a stomach or intestinal ulcer;
- open-angle glaucoma; or
- depression, mental illness, or psychosis.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
How should I take carbidopa and levodopa?
If you already take levodopa, you must stop taking it at least 12 hours before you start taking carbidopa and levodopa.
Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Use the medicine exactly as directed.
Carbidopa and levodopa can be taken with or without food. Take your doses at regular intervals to keep a steady amount of the drug in your body at all times. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.
Swallow the capsule whole and do not crush, chew, break, or open it.
The tablet is sometimes broken in half to give the correct dose. Always swallow a whole or half tablet without chewing or crushing.
Remove an orally disintegrating tablet from the package only when you are ready to take the medicine. Place the tablet in your mouth and allow it to dissolve, without chewing. Swallow several times as the tablet dissolves.
It may take up to several weeks of using carbidopa and levodopa before your symptoms improve. For best results, keep using the medication as directed. Talk with your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after a few weeks of treatment. Also tell your doctor if the effects of this medication seem to wear off quickly in between doses.
If you use this medicine long-term, you may need frequent medical tests at your doctor's office.
This medicine can affect the results of certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using carbidopa and levodopa.
Do not stop using carbidopa and levodopa suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to safely stop using this medicine.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking carbidopa and levodopa?
Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how this medicine will affect you. Your reactions could be impaired. Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy.
Avoid taking iron supplements or eating a diet that is high in protein (protein sources include meat, eggs, and cheese). These things can make it harder for your body to digest and absorb carbidopa and levodopa. Talk with your doctor or nutrition counselor about the best foods to eat while you are taking this medicine.
What other drugs will affect carbidopa and levodopa?
Other drugs may affect carbidopa and levodopa, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.
Where can I get more information?
Your pharmacist can provide more information about carbidopa and levodopa.