In this session, we will be discussing the consumer medication information for carbidopa/levodopa, trade name SinemetTM.
What it’s for & How to take
Carbidopa/levodopa is used to treat the tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is characterized by symptoms such as problems with balance, shaking of parts of the body and decreased muscle control. This medication helps increase a natural chemical in the brain that helps the body control movements. Increasing this chemical may help decrease muscle stiffness, spasms, twitches, and tremors.
This medication is usually prescribed to be taken 3 or 4 times daily. Carbidopa/Levodopa may be taken with or without food. Try to avoid taking this medication with high protein snacks or vitamins that contain iron. These combinations may decrease the absorption of this medication.
Your doctor may start you at a low dose and gradually increase the dose once weekly until you reach a dose that works best for your symptoms.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of your next dose, skip it and continue with your normal dose time. Do not take a double dose to make up the missed dose.
If your symptoms are not getting better or are getting worse, call your pharmacist or doctor to discuss your options. This medication will help treat the symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease; however, it does not cure the disease. When you stop the medication, your symptoms will most likely return.
If you stop your dose for any reason, talk with your doctor before starting again. Most likely, you will need to start with a low dose again and gradually increase to get back to the appropriate dose.
Warnings & Cautions
- This medication may make you sleepy. If you fall asleep or become exceedingly drowsy while performing regular daily activities, call your doctor to discuss your options.
- This medication may cause some dizziness or lightheadedness if you stand up from a sitting or lying position. This is more common when you first begin therapy with carbidopa/levodopa. Get up slowly from a sitting or lying position. Balance yourself before you begin to move across the room.
- The elderly may be more sensitive to the side effects of this medication, especially the dizziness, lightheadedness or confusion.
- This medication may make you dizzy, drowsy, or blur your vision. Do not drive or do any activity that requires focus and attention until you are sure you can do them safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages while taking carbidopa/levodopa.
- Let your pharmacist or doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding before taking this medication.
Interactions & Side Effects
- Tell your pharmacist or doctor all your medication allergies so they may determine if carbidopa/levodopa is safe for you to take.
- Avoid dangerous drug interactions. Tell your pharmacist or doctor all the other medication you are taking, including over the counter supplements, even if you don’t take them very often.
- Ask your doctor if this medication is safe to take with your current health conditions. Tell your doctor if you have a history of any eye problems such as glaucoma, skin cancer, undiagnosed skin growth, irregular heartbeat, kidney or liver disease, a history of any mental disease, or any diagnosed or undiagnosed breathing difficulty.
- While taking carbidopa/levodopa you may feel some nausea, weakness, dizziness, perhaps some difficulty remembering things, headache, constipation or maybe a dry mouth. If these or any other unwanted side effects persist, contact your doctor or pharmacist to talk about it with them.
- Call your doctor right away if you have any significant mood or mental changes, difficulty moving your body, muscle aches or pains, fainting, increased shakiness or tremors or any irregular heartbeats.
- Call emergency 911 if you have any symptoms of a heart attack such as chest and left arm pain, shortness of breath and sweating or if you have symptoms of a stroke such as weakness on one side of your body, slurred speech, sudden vision changes, and confusion.
If you have any questions about what you have heard, contact your pharmacist or doctor. This session does not include all potential interactions or side effects that this medication may cause. Ask your pharmacist how your medication should be stored and how you should dispose of it when you are done taking it. Do not share your medication with anyone, ever. Remember, this is not meant to replace your counseling session with your own pharmacist. In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.