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Sinemet vs. Parcopa

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Are Sinemet and Parcopa the Same Thing?

Sinemet (carbidopa-levodopa) and Parcopa (carbidopa and levodopa) are combinations of an inhibitor of aromatic amino acid decarboxylation and an aromatic amino acid used to treat Parkinson symptoms such as muscle stiffness, tremors, spasms, and poor muscle control. Sinemet and Parcopa are also used to treat Parkinson symptoms caused by carbon monoxide poisoning or manganese intoxication.

A difference is that Parcopa is an extended-release version of carbidopa and levodopa.

The brand name Parcopa is discontinued, but generic versions may be available.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Sinemet?

Common side effects of Sinemet include:

Tell your doctor if you experience unlikely but serious side effects including:
  • greatly increased eye blinking/twitching,
  • fainting,
  • mental/mood changes (e.g., confusion, depression, hallucinations, thoughts of suicide),
  • unusual strong urges (such as increased gambling, increased sexual urges),
  • or worsening of involuntary movements/spasms.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Parcopa?

Common side effects of Parcopa include:

  • involuntary muscle movements,
  • nausea,
  • hallucinations,
  • confusion,
  • dizziness,
  • depression,
  • urinary tract infection,
  • headache,
  • abnormal dreams,
  • muscle spasms,
  • vomiting,
  • upper respiratory tract infection,
  • shortness of breath,
  • “on-off” phenomena (switch between mobility and immobility),
  • back pain,
  • dry mouth,
  • loss of appetite,
  • diarrhea,
  • insomnia,
  • dizziness upon standing,
  • shoulder pain,
  • chest pain,
  • numbness and tingling,
  • urinary frequency,
  • indigestion, and
  • constipation.

What is Sinemet?

Sinemet (carbidopa-levodopa) is a combination of an inhibitor of aromatic amino acid decarboxylation and an aromatic amino acid used to treat Parkinson symptoms such as

  • muscle stiffness,
  • tremors,
  • spasms,
  • and poor muscle control.
Sinemet is also used to treat Parkinson symptoms caused by carbon monoxide poisoning or manganese intoxication.

What is Parcopa?

Parcopa (carbidopa and levodopa) extended release tablet is a combination of an inhibitor of aromatic amino acid decarboxylation and an aromatic amino acid indicated in the treatment of Parkinson's disease, postencephalitic parkinsonism, and symptomatic parkinsonism that may follow carbon monoxide intoxication or manganese intoxication.

What Drugs Interact With Sinemet?

Sinemet may interact with metoclopramide, isoniazid, phenytoin, papaverine, antidepressants, or blood pressure medications.

Sinemet may also interact with other Parkinson's medications or medicines to treat psychiatric disorders.

What Drugs Interact With Parcopa?

Parcopa may also interact with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), phenothiazines, butyrophenones, risperidone, reserpine, tetrabenazine, or iron salts or multivitamins containing iron salts.

How Should Sinemet Be Taken?

Starting dosage is one tablet of Sinemet 25-100 (carbidopa-levodopa) three times a day. Dosage may be increased by one tablet every day or every other day, as necessary, until a dosage of eight tablets a day is reached.

How Should Parcopa Be Taken?

Parcopa extended-release tablets contain carbidopa and levodopa in a 1:4 ratio as either the 50 mg/200 mg tablet or the 25 mg/100 mg tablet. The daily dosage of must be determined by careful titration.

Reviewed on 4/19/2018

Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP References:
NIH. DailyMed. Parcopa Product Information.
https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cder/daf/index.cfm?event=overview.process&ApplNo=076699
FDA. Sinemet Product Information.
https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2008/017555s069lbl.pdf

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