carbidopa-levodopa (generic name)

It is used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.
(kar bi DOE pa; lee voe DOE pa)
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What is this medicine?

CARBIDOPA;LEVODOPA (kar bi DOE pa; lee voe DOE pa) is used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • asthma or lung disease
  • depression or other mental illness
  • diabetes
  • glaucoma
  • heart disease, including history of a heart attack
  • irregular heart beat
  • kidney or liver disease
  • melanoma or suspicious skin lesions
  • stomach or intestine ulcers
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to levodopa, carbidopa, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Take this medicine by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Do not stop taking except on the advice of your doctor or health care professional.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
  • isoniazid, INH
  • medicines called MAO Inhibitors like Nardil, Parnate, Marplan, Eldepryl
  • procarbazine
  • reserpine

This medicine may also interact with the following medications:

  • droperidol
  • iron supplements
  • medicines for depression, anxiety, or psychotic disturbances
  • medicines for high blood pressure
  • metoclopramide
  • papaverine
  • phenytoin

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. It may be several weeks or months before you feel the full benefits of this medicine. Continue to take your medicine on a regular schedule. Do not take any additional medicines for Parkinson's disease without first consulting with your health care provider.

You may experience a wearing of effect prior to the time for your next dose of this medicine. You may also experience an on-off effect where the medicine apparently stops working for anything from a minute to several hours, then suddenly starts working again. Tell your doctor or health care professional if any of these symptoms happen to you. Your dose may need to be changed.

A high protein diet can slow or prevent absorption of this medicine. Avoid high protein foods near the time of taking this medicine to help to prevent these problems. Take this medicine at least 30 minutes before eating or one hour after meals. You may want to eat higher protein foods later in the day or in small amounts. Discuss your diet with your doctor or health care professional or nutritionist.

You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this drug affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells. Alcohol can make you more drowsy and dizzy. Avoid alcoholic drinks.

If you find that you have sudden feelings of wanting to sleep during normal activities, like cooking, watching television, or while driving or riding in a car, you should contact your health care professional.

If you are diabetic, this medicine may interfere with the accuracy of some tests for sugar or ketones in the urine (does not interfere with blood tests). Check with your doctor or health care professional before changing the dose of your diabetic medicine.

This medicine may discolor the urine or sweat, making it look darker or red in color. This is of no cause for concern. However, this may stain clothing or fabrics.

There have been reports of increased sexual urges or other strong urges such as gambling while taking some medicines for Parkinson's disease. If you experience any of these urges while taking this medicine, you should report it to your health care provider as soon as possible.

You should check your skin often for changes to moles and new growths while taking this medicine. Call your doctor if you notice any of these changes.

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Last Updated: April 06, 2010
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