Entacapone

Sounds like 'en-TACK-up-own'

Easy-to-read medicine information about entacapone – what is it, how to take entacapone safely and possible side effects.

Type of medicine Also called
  • Dopaminergic medicine
  • Belongs to a group of medicines called COMT blockers
  • Used to treat Parkinson's disease


  • Entapone®
  • Comtan®


What is entacapone?

  • Entacapone is used together with levodopa + carbidopa or levodopa + benserazide to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, or Parkinson-like symptoms such as tremor, shakiness, stiffness, and difficulty moving.
  • Many people taking levodopa for Parkinson's disease have problems with the effects of the levodopa wearing off between doses. This causes the Parkinson's symptoms to return or worsen. Entacapone blocks a certain natural substance (COMT enzyme) that breaks down the levodopa in the body. This allows the levodopa to last longer so that it doesn't wear off before the next dose.
  • Entacapone is available as tablets.

Dose

  • The usual dose of entacapone is 200 milligrams with each dose of levodopa + carbidopa  or levodopa + benserazide.
  • Always take your entacapone exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much entacapone to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions.

How to take entacapone

  • You can take entacapone with or without food.
  • Take your entacapone dose with each prescribed dose of levodopa + carbidopa or levodopa + benserazide. This may be up to 8 times a day.
  • If you do miss a dose then take your next dose when you take your next dose of levodopa + carbidopa  or levodopa + benserazide. Do not take double the dose.  
  • Keep taking entacapone regularly. Stopping treatment suddenly can cause serious problems.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, entacapone can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Changes in the colour of your urine, sweat or saliva — it may turn red, brown or black
  • This is harmless and is nothing to worry about
  • Feeling or being sick (nausea)
  • This is common when you first start taking entacapone
  • Try taking your dose with food
  • Falling asleep suddenly during daily activities (such as talking on the phone, or driving)
  • This sleep effect can occur without any feelings of drowsiness beforehand, and can happen anytime during treatment with this medication
  • Tell your doctor
  • Do not drive or use tools until you know how this medicine affects you and until these have stopped happening
  • Avoid drinking alcohol
  • Feeling dizzy or faint when you stand up (due to a sudden drop in blood pressure)
  • Be careful when getting up from either lying down or sitting, to avoid falls
  • Tell your doctor
  • Uncontrollable jerky movements, where you switch suddenly from being able to move to being immobile
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine 0800 611 116

Interactions

Entacapone interacts with a number of medications and herbal supplements, so check with your doctor or pharmacist. Do not take iron tablets at the same time as entacapone because iron can reduce the entacapone in your body. If you need to take iron tablets, take it 2 hours before, or 2 hours after entacapone.

Learn more

The following links provide further information on entacapone. 

Entapone
Comtan

Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland Last reviewed: 08 Dec 2016