This combination medication is used to treat symptoms of Parkinson’s disease or Parkinson-like symptoms (such as shakiness, stiffness, difficulty moving). Parkinson’s disease is thought to be caused by too little of a naturally occurring substance (dopamine) in the brain. Levodopa changes into dopamine in the brain, helping to control movement. Carbidopa prevents the breakdown of levodopa in the bloodstream so more levodopa can enter the brain. Carbidopa can also reduce some of levodopa’s side effects such as nausea and vomiting.
How to use carbidopa-levodopa oral
Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor, usually 3 to 4 times a day.
Taking this medication with food may help to decrease nausea. It is best to avoid a high-protein diet (it decreases the amount of levodopa that your body takes in) during treatment, unless directed otherwise by your doctor. Separate your dose of this medication by as many hours as possible from any iron supplements or products containing iron (such as multivitamins with minerals) you may take. Iron can reduce the amount of this medication absorbed by the body. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. To reduce your risk of side effects, your doctor may direct you to start this medication at a low dose and gradually increase your dose. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. This combination medication comes in different strengths with different amounts of carbidopa and levodopa in each tablet. Be sure you have the correct strength of both drugs. Your doctor may also prescribe carbidopa alone to be taken with this combination.
Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day.
Some patients may experience a “wearing-off” (worsening of symptoms) before the next dose is due. An “on-off” effect might also occur, in which sudden short periods of stiffness occur. If these effects occur, contact your doctor for possible dose adjustments that may help to lessen this effect.
Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when this drug is quickly reduced or suddenly stopped. Your dose may need to be gradually reduced. (See also Side Effects section.)
Dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, unusual dreams, or headache may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
This medication may cause saliva, urine, or sweat to turn a dark color. This effect is harmless, but your clothes may be stained.
To reduce the risk of dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Some people taking this medication have fallen asleep suddenly during their usual daily activities (such as talking on the phone, driving). In some cases, sleep occurred without any feelings of drowsiness beforehand. This sleep effect may occur anytime during treatment with carbidopa/levodopa even if you have used this medication for a long time. If you experience increased sleepiness or fall asleep during the day, do not drive or do other possibly dangerous activities until you have discussed this effect with your doctor. Your risk of this sleep effect is increased by using alcohol or other medications that can make you drowsy. See also Precautions section.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: new/worsening movements you can’t control/spasms, greatly increased eye blinking/twitching, fainting, vision changes (such as blurred vision, double vision), eye pain, severe stomach/abdominal pain, black/tarry stools, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, mental/mood changes (such as agitation, hallucinations, depression, thoughts of suicide), signs of infection (such as sore throat that doesn’t go away), easy bleeding/bruising, unusual tiredness, tingling of the hands/feet, unusual strong urges (such as increased gambling, increased sexual urges).
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: chest pain.
Abruptly stopping or reducing the dose of this medication may rarely cause a very serious condition called neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS). Get medical help right away if you have any of the following symptoms: fever, unusual muscle stiffness, severe confusion, sweating, fast/irregular heartbeat, rapid breathing.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.