The reference site for Levodopa

L-DOPA crosses the protective blood–brain barrier, whereas dopamine itself cannot. Thus, L-DOPA is used to increase dopamine concentrations in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and dopamine-responsive dystonia.

WHAT IS Levodopa?

Levodopa is a medication used to treat Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is associated with low levels of a chemical called dopamine (doe pa meen) in the brain. Levodopa is turned into dopamine in the body and therefore increases levels of this chemical.

This medication is also used to treat these same muscular conditions when they are caused by drugs such as chlorpromazine (Thorazine®), fluphenazine (Prolixin®), and perphenazine (Trilafon®).

 

Brand Name(s): Dopar; Larodopa; Sinemet;Apo-Levocarb
CAS nº: 59-92-7
(lee voe doe pa)

 

Product Info

The sections below will provide you with more specific information and guidelines related to levodopa and its correct use. Please read them carefully.

FDA Information

Levodopa got the approval from FDA in 1986.

HISTORY:

In work that earned him a Nobel Prize, Swedish scientist Arvid Carlsson first showed in the 1950s that administering levodopa to animals with Parkinsonian symptoms would cause a reduction of the symptoms. The neurologist Oliver Sacks describes this treatment in human patients with encephalitis lethargica in his book “Awakenings” on which the movie of the same name is based.

The 2001 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was also related to levodopa: the Nobel Committee awarded one-fourth of the prize to William S. Knowles for his work on chirally catalysed hydrogenation reactions, the most noted example of which was uses for the synthesis of levodopa.

Please visit the official site of the FDA for further information.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Levodopa is a medication used to treat Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is associated with low levels of a chemical called dopamine (doe pa meen) in the brain. Levodopa is turned into dopamine in the body and therefore increases levels of this chemical.

This medication is also used to treat these same muscular conditions when they are caused by drugs such as chlorpromazine (Thorazine®), fluphenazine (Prolixin®), and perphenazine (Trilafon®).

Levodopa is often used in combination with carbidopa.

NOTE: Parkinson’s disease is one of the most common movement-affecting disorders. About 50,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease every year. The condition is a disease of late middle age. On average, Parkinson’s disease develops at the age of 60, and the rate of new cases peaks near 75. However, 5% of people who have Parkinson’s disease are under the age of 40.

Other uses for this medicine

Levodopa is also used occasionally to treat herpes zoster (shingles) and restless legs syndrome.

Nevertheless, it is important that you first talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this drug for your particular condition.

Dosage and using this medicine

Levodopa comes as an oral tablet and an oral extended-release tablet.

Take levodopa exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these directions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.

Levodopa is usually taken several times a day with food, and each dose should be taken with a full glass of water.

It is important to take levodopa regularly to get the most benefit from it. However, it may be several weeks or months before the benefits of levodopa are seen. Do not stop taking levodopa without first talking to your doctor.

Additionally, your doctor may want you to have blood tests or other medical evaluations during treatment with levodopa to monitor progress and side effects.

What special precautions should I follow?

BEFORE TAKING LEVODOPA:

Tell your doctor if you suffer from any of the following symptoms: any kind of heart disease, including high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, hardening of the arteries, a previous heart attack, or an irregular heartbeat; respiratory disease, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); liver disease; kidney disease; an endocrine (hormonal) disease; a stomach or intestinal ulcer; wide-angle glaucoma; or depression or any other psychiatric disorder. You may need a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment if you have any of the conditions listed above.

Do not take levodopa if you have taken a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), such as isocarboxazid (Marplan®), tranylcypromine (Parnate®), or phenelzine (Nardil®) withinin the past 2 weeks.

Moreover, you are advised not to take levodopa without first talking to your doctor if you have narrow-angle glaucoma (angle closure glaucoma), or malignant melanoma (a type of skin cancer).

It is not known whether levodopa will be harmful to an unborn baby. Do not take levodopa without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant or could become pregnant during treatment.

Additionally, it has not been determined whether levodopa will be harmful to a nursing infant. Please do not take levodopa without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

Take the missed dose of levodopa as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule.

Please do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Possible side effects from using levodopa may include:

nausea
vomiting
low blood pressure
involuntary movements and restlessness

Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

mild nausea, vomiting, or decreased appetite
constipation, dry mouth, or blurred vision
hand tremor
muscle twitches
dizziness or drowsiness
insomnia, confusion, or nightmares
agitation or anxiety
darkening of the urine or sweat
fatigue

Moreover, if you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing, closing of the throat, swelling of the lips, tongue, or face, or hives)
uncontrolled movements of a part of the body
seizures
persistent nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
an irregular heartbeat or fluttering in the chest
unusual changes in mood or behavior
depression or suicidal thoughts

Side effects other than those listed above may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What storage conditions are needed for this medicine?

Always keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).

Also, remember to throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

In case of an emergency/overdose

In the case of a suspected overdose, call your local poison control center on 1-800-222-1222. However, if the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, please call the local emergency services on 911.

Symptoms of a levodopa overdose may include:

nausea
diarrhea
vomiting
weakness
fainting
confusion
hallucinations
muscle twitching
agitation

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