PREGNANCY AND BREASTFEEDING SAFETY: Although there are no human studies that have examined the effects of carbidopa-levodopa on the fetus, animal studies have shown adverse effects. Therefore, in prescribing carbidopa-levodopa for a pregnant woman, the treating physician must weigh the potential risks to the fetus against the potential benefits to the mother.
Levodopa is distributed into breast milk. It also may inhibit production of milk. It is generally recommended that carbidopa-levodopa should not be given to women who are breast- feeding.
STORAGE: Tablets should be kept at room temperature, 15-30 C (59-86 F).
DOSING: Carbidopa-levodopa is taken several times per day. It may be administered with food to reduce the likelihood of nausea; however, a high-protein diet may reduce its absorption. The initial dose using regular tablets is 25/100 mg three times daily. The dose may be increased by one tablet every day or every other day until 8 tablets of 25/100 mg daily is reached. Alternatively 10/100 mg three or four times daily may be used initially and increased by one tablet daily or every other day until a total of eight tablets daily is reached. The dose of controlled release tablets is 50/200 mg twice daily and may increase up to 1.6 grams levodopa daily. Controlled release tablet should be given at least 6 hours apart.
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Carbidopa-levodopa is a combination of two drugs, levodopa and carbidopa. Carbidopa-levodopa is used in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. Parkinson's disease is believed to be caused by low levels of dopamine in certain parts of the brain. When levodopa is taken orally, it crosses into the brain through the "blood- brain barrier." Once it crosses, it is converted to dopamine. The resulting increase in brain dopamine concentrations is believed to improve nerve conduction and assist the movement disorders in Parkinson disease. Carbidopa does not cross the blood-brain barrier. Carbidopa is added to the levodopa to prevent the breakdown of levodopa before it crosses into the brain. The addition of carbidopa allows lower doses of levodopa to be used. This reduces the risk of side effects from levodopa such as nausea and vomiting. This combination medicine was approved by the FDA in 1988.
Medically reviewed by Eni Williams, PharmD
Reference: FDA Prescribing Information
Quick GuideParkinson's Disease: Symptoms, Causes, Stages, and Treatment
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