carbidopa and levodopa (cont.)
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What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking carbidopa and levodopa (Atamet, Parcopa, Sinemet, Sinemet CR)?
Do not take carbidopa and levodopa if you have used an MAO inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), or tranylcypromine (Parnate) within the past 14 days. Serious, life-threatening side effects can occur if you take carbidopa and levodopa before the MAO inhibitor has cleared from your body.
You should not take this medication if you are allergic to carbidopa (Lodosyn) or levodopa (Larodopa), or if you have:
If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests:
Carbidopa and levodopa may cause you to fall asleep during normal daytime activities such as working, talking, eating, or driving. You may fall asleep suddenly, even after feeling alert. Tell your doctor if you have any problems with daytime sleepiness or drowsiness.
You may have increased sexual urges, unusual urges to gamble, or other intense urges while taking carbidopa and levodopa. It is not known whether the medicine actually causes this effect. Talk with your doctor if you believe you have any intense or unusual urges while taking carbidopa and levodopa.
Some people taking medicines for Parkinson's disease have developed skin cancer (melanoma). However, people with Parkinson's disease may have a higher risk than most people for developing melanoma. Talk to your doctor about your specific risk and what skin symptoms to watch for. You may need to have regular skin exams.
FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether carbidopa and levodopa will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.
Carbidopa and levodopa may pass into breast milk and could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
The disintegrating tablet (such as Parcopa) may contain phenylalanine. Talk to your doctor before using this form of carbidopa and levodopa if you have phenylketonuria (PKU).
How should I take carbidopa and levodopa (Atamet, Parcopa, Sinemet, Sinemet CR)?
Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Carbidopa and levodopa can be taken with or without food. Take your doses at regular intervals to keep a steady amount of the drug in your body at all times.
Do not crush, chew, or break an extended-release tablet. Swallow the pill whole. Breaking or opening the pill may cause too much of the drug to be released at one time.
The regular tablet can be broken or crushed if needed to make it easier to swallow.
To take the orally disintegrating tablet (Parcopa):
It may take up to several weeks of using carbidopa and levodopa before your symptoms improve. For best results, keep using the medication as directed. Talk with your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after a few weeks of treatment. Also tell your doctor if the effects of this medication seem to wear off quickly in between doses.
To be sure this medicine is helping your condition and is not causing harmful effects, your blood will need to be tested often. Your heart, liver, and kidney function may also need to be tested. Visit your doctor regularly.
This medication can cause unusual results with certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using carbidopa and levodopa.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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