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Levodopa - Uses - Dosages - Side Effects - Precautions

Levodopa: Frequently Asked Questions Answered

What is Levodopa?

Levodopa is a medication combined with Carbidopa to manage Parkinson’s disease symptoms (symptoms that develop post swelling in the brain or due to injury in the central nervous system). Parkinson’s leads to tremors, shakiness, stiffness, and movement disorders. The disorder is mainly caused due to a lack of dopamine in the central nervous system. 

Levodopa is taken orally, absorbed in the intestine, and upon crossing the brain, converts to dopamine. This results in enhanced nerve conditions and movements.

What are the uses of Levodopa?

Specialists prescribe Levodopa as a dopamine replacement agent to lower the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. The uses of Levodopa are tremendous as it is highly effective in controlling bradykinetic symptoms that are evident in Parkinson’s disease. 

The tablets are generally taken three or four times a day till the period recommended by the doctor. Levodopa and carbidopa control Parkinson’s disease; however, they do not cure it. It may take a couple of months before the full benefit of the medication is evident.

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What are the Side Effects and Precautions of Levodopa?

Levodopa may trigger unwanted side effects. Consult doctors at Yashoda Hospitals if these symptoms get severe and linger for longer:

  • Dizziness.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Dry Mouth.
  • Mouth/throat pain.
  • Loss of taste.
  • Forgetfulness/Confusion.
  • Nervousness.
  • Nightmares.
  • Sleeplessness.
  • Headache.
  • Weakness.

Some severe side effects are listed below. 

  • Uncontrolled movements or swelling of mouth, tongue, head, neck, arms, and legs.
  • Irregular heartbeat, chest pain.
  • Sweating.
  • Depression, hallucination.
  • Suicidal thoughts.
  • Hives.
  • Numbness or loss of sensation.
  • Redness, swelling, pain, or warmth in the area around your PEG-J tube (if you are taking Levodopa).
  • Black and tarry stools, blood in stools.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Vomiting- bloody, resembles coffee grounds.

Get immediate medical treatment for any severe side effects. Please consult a doctor, or you can contact our medical experts available 24*7 at Yashoda Hospitals to understand better Levodopa’s uses, dosages, side effects and precautions.

S.no Product Name Dosage Form
1. Syndopa CR Levodopa er 200mg+carbidopa er 50mg Tablet
2. Tidomet Plus Carbidopa 25mg+levodopa 100mg Tablet
3. Syncapone-150 Carbidopa 37.50mg+levodopa 150mg+entacapone 200mg Tablet
4. Madopar Benserazide 25mg+levodopa 100mg Tablet
5. Tidomet Forte Carbidopa 25mg+levodopa 250mg Tablet

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Levodopa

1. When to start Levodopa therapy for Parkinson's disease?

The medical treatment of Parkinson’s disease should begin when the functional disability starts appearing. According to a study, Levodopa is unlikely to affect the progression of Parkinson’s disease in the first-year-and-a-half following diagnosis.

Symptoms bettered to a certain extent by 80 weeks, and side effects were similar, indicating people should start treatment early as needed for symptomatic relief.

2. Why is there a shortage of carbidopa-Levodopa?

In 2011 there was a nationwide shortage of Sinemet (Carbidopa-Levodopa). This occurred because the brand was transitioning from Merck and Company, Inc. to Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Later in 2019, Merck announced it would discontinue the manufacturing of Sinemet, causing a worldwide panic. The reason was due to a lack of manufacturing. Marck is working towards resolving its supply issues.

3. How many years can Levodopa be effective?

Levodopa is effective for as long as one takes it. However, for some, it starts wearing off within one to two years; for others, it could take five years before becoming ineffective. Alabama University uncovered that DNA methylation causes L-DOPA to become inefficient after a few years and gives rise to dyskinesia — involuntary jerky movements, worsening symptoms for the patients. This disability can be challenging to treat; hence strategies should be developed around them as well.

4. How long does Levodopa stay in your system?

Levodopa is quick to be absorbed in the body and system. The half-life of Sinemet is 90 minutes; however, the effects generally last for three to four hours (immediate-release). Depending on the dosage as recommended by doctors, the drug can start wearing off from any time from 15 minutes to several hours.

5. How much Levodopa is too much?

Levodopa should not be consumed at least 12 hours before starting Lodosyn plus, Levodopa or Sinemet. A Doctor will adjust dosages per a patient's requirements. In the beginning, one tablet three to four times a day, or as prescribed. Generally, the dose is not more than 200 mg per day.

6. Does Levodopa cause constipation?

Yes, anxiety about bowel movements, potentially due to the effect of certain drugs such as Levodopa and anticholinergics, may make it difficult to calm the body and relax muscles that effectively allow stool to pass smoothly, resulting in constipation.

Drinking warm liquids in the morning can potentially resolve this.

7. What does Levodopa do in the brain?

L-DOPA is an indication of dopamine passing the blood-brain barrier. It is significantly taken up by the dopaminergic neurons that alter L-DOPA to dopamine and boost their dopamine production and storage. The result increases the dopamine concentration in the brain to better nerve conditions and movement disorders.

8. Why is Levodopa given instead of Dopamine?

People with Parkinson’s have low dopamine concentration in their brains. However, Dopamine solely cannot cross the protective blood-brain barrier. Therefore, it cannot be used to treat Parkinson’s disease. Levodopa is a precursor of dopamine and the drug that boosts dopamine in the brain as it crosses the blood-brain barrier. It is the most effective medication and strategy used to help enhance the motor symptoms and central nervous system.

9. Does Levodopa make you high?

Yes. The medication is addictive, causing people to abuse the drug and consequently experience withdrawal symptoms. The effects of dopamine are associated with hyperactivity and impulsivity in patients with Parkinson’s. Taking Levodopa can fluctuate moods, motivation, and anxiety levels rapidly. Behavioural addictions are commonly demonstrated amongst patients, and the intensity varies from age and other factors.

10. How quickly does Levodopa work?

When one starts consuming Levodopa, there is an evident improvement in Parkinson's symptoms, maintained throughout the day. The medicine effectively enhances the dopamine levels within the brain for a couple of hours. Thus, most people experience effective control over their movement disorders with three doses each day.

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Disclaimer: The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts.

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