Levodopa and benserazide

Commonly called Madopar®

Madopar is used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Find out how to take it safely and possible side effects. Madopar is a combination of levodopa + benserazide.

Type of medicine Also called
  • Dopaminergic medicine
  • Belongs to a group of medicines to treat Parkinson's disease
  • Levodopa + benserazide
  • Madopar®
  • Madopar HBS®
  • Madopar Rapid®

What is Madopar?

Madopar is a combination of levodopa + benserazide. Madopar is used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, or Parkinson-like symptoms such as tremor, shakiness, stiffness, and difficulty moving. Levodopa changes into dopamine, a chemical in the brain that helps control movement. Benserazide prevents levodopa changing to dopamine in the bloodstream. This means that more levodopa can enter the brain, and helps to lessen some of the side effects such as nausea and vomiting.


In New Zealand Madopar is available in different forms and strengths with different amounts of carbidopa and benserazide in each capsule or tablet.

  • Madopar capsules: 62.5mg, 125mg, 250mg
  • Madopar HBS (also called modified- release capsules): 125mg
  • Madopar Rapid (also called dispersible tablets): 62.5mg.

The dose of Madopar is different for different people.

  • You will be started on a low dose and depending on your response, your doctor will increase your dose to control your symptoms.
  • Always take your Madopar exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much Madopar to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions.

How to take Madopar

  • Capsules (also called immediate release capsule): swallow whole and do not open capsule.
  • Modified release capsules (usually has HBS after the name): swallow the capsule whole, with a glass of water. Do not crush or chew them because this will release all the medicine at once, increasing the chance of side effects.
  • Dispersible tablets: swallow the tablets whole, or you can mix them into a small glass of water or orange cordial  (but not fruit juice).
  • Timing: Take Madopar at the same times of day each day. Madopar is best taken on an empty stomach, but if stomach upset occurs take with or just after food. Avoid taking Madopar with a high-protein meal because it may decrease the effects of this medication.
  • Missed dose: If you do miss a dose then take your next dose when it is due. Do not take double the dose.  
  • Keep taking Madopar regularly. Do not stop taking Madopar or lower the dose, without checking with your doctor. Your doctor may want you to gradually reduce your dose before stopping completely. This may help reduce the possibility of withdrawal symptoms such as muscle stiffness, fever and mental changes.

Side effects

Like all medicines, Madopar 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
  • 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, including up to 1 year after starting the 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 sick (nausea)
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite(not wanting to eat)
  • Changes in taste
  • These are quite common when you first start taking levodopa + benserazide
  • Try taking your doses after a light meal
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome
  • Feeling dizzy when you stand up
  • Be careful when getting up from either lying down or sitting to avoid falls
  • Tell your doctor
  • Changes in your mood such as feeling anxious, nervous or agitated, or feeling excited or depressed
  • 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


Madopar interacts with a number of important medications, herbal and food supplements, so check with your doctor or pharmacist.

Learn more

The following links have more information on Madopar.

Medsafe Consumer Information Sheets: Madopar

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