GENERIC NAME: CARBIDOPA/LEVODOPA - ORAL (car-beh-DOE-puh/lee-voh-DOE-puh)
BRAND NAME(S): Atamet, Sinemet
USES: Levodopa and carbidopa are used in combination to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's disease or Parkinson-like symptoms (e.g., shakiness, stiffness, difficulty moving). Parkinson's disease is thought to be caused by too little of a naturally occurring substance (dopamine) in the brain. Levodopa changes into dopamine in the brain, helping to control movement.Carbidopa prevents the breakdown of levodopa in the bloodstream so more levodopa can enter the brain. This can reduce some of levodopa's side effects such as nausea and vomiting, and it may also allow your doctor to increase your levodopa dose more quickly to find the best dose for you. This combination may be used alone or with other drugs for Parkinson's disease.
HOW TO USE: Take this medication by mouth with food, usually 3 to 4 times a day or as directed by your doctor. If you have been taking levodopa without any carbidopa and are taking this combination for the first time, wait at least 12 hours after your last levodopa dose before starting this medication. You may want to start your first dose in the morning. Your doctor will usually reduce your levodopa dose when starting this combination to prevent side effects from too much dopamine. Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions closely.This combination comes in different strengths with different amounts of carbidopa and levodopa in each tablet. Be sure you have the correct strength of both drugs. Your doctor may also prescribe carbidopa alone to be taken with this combination.Avoid high-protein diets because they may prevent absorption of this medication. Separate your dose of this medication as many hours as possible from any iron supplements or products containing iron (e.g., multivitamins with minerals) you may take. Iron can reduce the amount of carbidopa and levodopa available to the body.Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day. Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy.Some people may experience a decrease in the effectiveness of this medication just before the next dose is due. If this occurs and is bothersome, notify your doctor. Do not change your dose of this or any other medication without checking with your doctor first.Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when the drug is quickly reduced or suddenly stopped. Your dose may need to be gradually reduced. (See also Side Effects section.)Inform your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.
Quick GuideParkinson's Disease: Symptoms, Causes, Stages, and Treatment
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