Levodopa + carbidopa

Sounds like lee-voh-DOE-puh + car-beh-DOE-puh

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

Type of medicine Also called
  • Dopaminergic medicine
  • Belongs to a group of medicines to treat Parkinson's disease
  • Sinemet®
  • Kinson®
  • Sindopa®

What is levodopa + carbidopa?

  • Levodopa + carbidopa in combination 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.  
  • Carbidopa 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. 

Dose

  • The dose of levodopa + carbidopa combination is different for different people. 
  • You will be started on a low dose at first, and depending on your response, your doctor will increase your dose to control your symptoms.
  • Levodopa + carbidopa combination comes in different strengths with different amounts of carbidopa and levodopa in each tablet. Be sure you have the correct strength of both medicines.
  • This combination is available in 2 forms - an immediate release tablet or a modified- release tablet. Check with your pharmacist which form you are taking. 
  • Your doctor may prescribe the immediate-release tablet and the modified release tablet, to be taken at different times of the day.
  • Always take your levodopa + carbidopa exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much levodopa + carbidopa to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions.

How to take levodopa + carbidopa

  • You can take levodopa + carbidopa combination with or without some food, but it is best NOT to take doses immediately after a large meal.
  • Avoid taking levodopa + carbidopa with a high-protein meal because it may decrease the effects of this medication.
  • Talk to your doctor before you make changes to your diet.
  • If you are prescribed the modified release tablet (usually has CR after the name), swallow it whole, with a glass of water. Do not crush or chew the tablets because all of the medication will release at once, increasing the chance of side effects.
  • Try to take levodopa + carbidopa at the same times of day each day.
  • If you do miss a dose then just take your next dose when it is due. Do not take double the dose.  
  • Keep taking levodopa + carbidopa regularly. Stopping treatment suddenly can cause serious problems. 

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, levodopa + carbidopa 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 + carbidopa
  • 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 

Interactions

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

Learn more

The following links provide further information on levodopa + carbidopa.

Medsafe Consumer Information Sheets:

Sinemet
Kinson

Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland Last reviewed: 23 Dec 2015