What are levodopa tablets?
LEVODOPA (Larodopa®) is used to treat Parkinson's disease. Levodopa can help correct an imbalance of chemicals in the brain caused by Parkinson's disease. Levodopa will not cure Parkinson's disease, but will help to control the symptoms. Generic levodopa tablets are not available.
What should my health care professional know before I take levodopa?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
asthma or lung disease
depression or other mental illness
heart disease, including history of a heart attack
irregular heart beat
melanoma or suspicious skin lesions
stomach or intestinal ulcers
an unusual or allergic reaction to levodopa, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I take this medicine?
Take levodopa tablets by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Swallow the tablets with a glass of water. It is best to take levodopa on an empty stomach, either 30 minutes before you eat or 1 hour after you eat. If the medicine upsets your stomach, you can take it with a cracker or fruit. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Do not stop taking this medicine without talking with your health care provider.
Contact your pediatrician or health care professional regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is less than 2 hours to your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses. Try not to miss a dose; it is important to keep your regular dosing schedule.
What drug(s) may interact with levodopa?
medicines for high blood pressure
medicines for depression, avoid those called MAO inhibitors-phenelzine (Nardil®), tranylcypromine (Parnate®), isocarboxazid (Marplan®)
medicines for mental problems and psychotic disturbances
vitamin B6(pyridoxine) supplements
Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines that you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.
What should I watch for while taking levodopa?
Visit your prescriber or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. It may be several weeks or months before you feel the full benefits of levodopa. Continue to take your medicine on a regular schedule and do not stop taking except on your prescriber's advice. Do not take any additional medicines for Parkinson's disease without first consulting with your health care provider.
You may experience a "wearing off" effect prior to the time for your next dose of levodopa. You may also experience an "on-off" effect where the medicine apparently stops working for anything from a minute to several hours, then suddenly starts working again. Tell your prescriber or health care professional if any of these symptoms happen to you, he/she may need to adjust your dosage.
A high-protein diet can slow or prevent absorption of levodopa. Avoid high protein foods near the time of taking levodopa to help to prevent these problems. Take levodopa at least 30 minutes before eating or one hour after meals. You may want to eat higher protein foods later in the day or in small amounts. Discuss your diet with your prescriber or health care professional or nutritionist.
Do not take iron supplements within 2 hours of taking levodopa. The iron may decrease the amount of levodopa in your system and decrease the effectiveness of the drug.
Do not sit or stand up quickly. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells. The dizziness should decrease after taking levodopa for a couple of days. Alcohol can increase possible dizziness; avoid alcoholic drinks.
If you are going to have surgery, tell your prescriber or health care professional that you are taking levodopa.
If you are diabetic, levodopa may interfere with the accuracy of some tests for sugar or ketones in the urine (does not interfere with blood tests). Check with your prescriber or health care professional before changing the dose of your diabetic medicine.
Levodopa may discolor the urine or sweat, making it look darker or red in color; this is of no cause for concern. However, this may stain clothing or fabrics.
What side effects may I notice from taking levodopa?
Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:
difficulty passing urine
dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting spells
fast or irregular heartbeat (palpitations)
mood changes such as aggressive behavior or hallucinations
uncontrolled movements of the mouth, head, hands, feet, shoulders, eyelids or other unusual muscle movements
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
anxiety, confusion, or nervousness
dark color (brown, red, or black) of saliva, urine or sweat
loss of appetite
nightmares, trouble sleeping
unusual tiredness or weakness
Where can I keep my medicine?
Keep out of the reach of children in a container that small children cannot open.
Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Protect from light. Keep container tightly closed. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.