This leaflet is to help you understand your medicine. It is not intended to be a comprehensive guide about your medicine, and it is not an official manufacturer’s patient information leaflet.
Always consult the manufacturer’s Patient Information Leaflet for the most up to date information regarding Levodopa.
Why have I been prescribed Levodopa?
In Parkinson’s dopamine is lacking in certain areas of the brain; levodopa is converted to dopamine in the brain. Levodopa is given with a second medicine (benserazide or carbidopa) to ensure that more of the levodopa gets to your brain before it is changed to dopamine.
Levodopa is used to help improve some of the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s (slowness and poverty of movement, rigidity and tremor).
Is levodopa safe to take?
Levodopa is generally safe to take as directed but may not suit everyone. There are some conditions where levodopa is not always used.
Tell your Parkinson’s team if any of the following apply to you:
- If you are allergic to any of the ingredients.
If you have eye, heart, kidney or liver disease
Serious heart complaint
History of, or ongoing mental health problems
History of, or ongoing unusual urges or behaviours
If you have taken Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors, used for depression, in the last 14 days.
How should I take levodopa?
Co-beneldopa and co-careldopa are taken by mouth as tablets, they are given at personalised timings throughout the day. A typical starting dose might be one three times daily 30 minutes before meals.
Always follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. The pharmacy team will always put your prescriber’s instructions on the medicine label. Never change the dose yourself. Do not crush or halve any slow/modified release tablets or capsules.
Always take co-beneldopa and co-careldopa with a glass of water. If you forget a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is at or near your usual dose, just take the next dose (do not double your dose).
Do I need any blood tests?
Many people taking levodopa do not need blood tests. Your Parkinson’s team will continue to monitor your blood pressure.
What unwanted effects of levodopa might I experience?
Unfortunately, you may experience some side effects. Most of these are quite mild and should go away after a week or two as you get used to your levodopa.
The table (below) is a guide to what to do if you get any side effects.
Not everyone will get the side effects shown, and most people do not. The more serious side effects are often dose related and may be avoided or minimised by using the smallest, effective dose.
|Side effects||How common?||What should I do?|
|Drowsiness||Common||If affected do not drive or operate machinery|
|Dizziness||Common||Do not drive or operate machinery. |
If problem persists, contact your Parkinson’s team
|Dyskinesia (wriggly movements).||Very common||Contact your Parkinson’s team |
to review your medication
|Nausea and vomiting||Common||This should be short lived, contact |
your Parkinson’s team if it persists
|Hallucinations||Common||Contact your Parkinson’s team|
|Allergic reaction or fever||Rare||Seek urgent medical attention if there is swelling of the face or throat|
|Red urine, saliva |
|Common||This is harmless|
|Changes to blood |
or liver tests
|Unknown||Please advise that you are taking co-beneldopa or co-careldopa|
|Sudden onset of sleep||Unknown||Do not drive or operate machinery, contact your Parkinson’s team|
|Mental health problems – impulse control problem||Unknown||Contact your Parkinson’s team|
|Urge to take more Parkinson’s medication||Unknown||Contact your Parkinson’s team|
Sudden onset of sleep
Levodopa can sometimes cause extreme daytime drowsiness and sudden onset of sleep (with no warning signs). If you are affected, you must not drive or operate machinery. Please contact your Parkinson’s team as soon as possible if this occurs as you may need a review of your medication.
What about alcohol?
Generally, you should not drink alcohol while taking levodopa because both can make you drowsy, so taking them together may increase this further. However, once you are used to taking your medication you might wish to try a glass of your normal drink. If you do not suffer any adverse effects, you may be able to drink in moderation.
Levodopa and diet
Whilst taking levodopa medicines with food may reduce nausea, for some people protein may interfere with how effective the levodopa is. We would therefore recommend levodopa medicines before food or at least 30 minutes after.
If my Parkinson’s is well controlled, can I stop taking it?
NO. This can be dangerous and result in a serious deterioration in your Parkinson’s. You and your Parkinson’s team will need to decide when you can stop taking it. Never change your dose or stop taking your MAOB inhibitor yourself.
Something not right?
South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust would like your feedback. If you wish to share your experience about your care and treatment or on behalf of a patient, please contact The Patient Experience Department who will advise you on how best to do this.
This service is based at The James Cook University Hospital but also covers the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, our community hospitals and community health services.
The James Cook University Hospital, Marton Road, Middlesbrough, TS4 3BW.
Telephone: 01642 850850
DISCLAIMER: This information was correct at the time of printing. While the Trust makes every reasonable effort to keep its information leaflets up to date, very recent changes may not yet be reflected in the guidance, and you should discuss this with the clinical staff at the time of your appointment.