1 What is Sinemet?

Brand: Sinemet

Generic: Levodopa

Sinemet is a drug which is used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease (a degenerative disorder of brain). It is used alone or in combination with carbidopa.

Levodopa controls muscle movement and allows normal movement of the body.

Levodopa is a dopamine precursor. It is available in capsule and tablet forms under doctor’s prescription.

2 What to Know Before Using

Your doctor will inform you of what you need to know before using Sinemet.

Before starting the treatment your doctor should be informed about conditions such as:

Allergy: Inform your doctor if you are allergic to any food, preservatives, dyes, or had an allergic reaction when you used this drug before.

Pregnancy: Levodopa is category C drug. It has shown adverse effects on animals but not tested on humans. It is not safe in pregnancy.

Children: There are no adequate studies done which prove levodopa safety in children.

Elderly: they are more sensitive to its effects. The elderly patient should use it cautiously.

Breast Feeding: Studies has shown that Levodopa changes rate of milk production and its composition. Your doctor may prescribe you an alternative to it if not then monitor the infant for side effects.

Drug Interactions: Levodopa interacts with many drugs. It should not be used with several drugs. Your doctor should be informed of any other medicine which you are taking so that he may adjust the dosage or change the drug.

Several other conditions may reduce its effectiveness.

Make sure you inform your doctor of conditions such as:

3 Proper Usage

To use Sinemet properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor.

If you are taking Levodopa alone (not in combination with carbidopa), make sure you avoid:

Pyridoxine (vitamin B6), as it reduces the effects of levodopa.

Foods which contain a high amount of pyridoxine such as banana, egg yolks, lima beans, meats, peanuts, and whole grain cereals.

Avoid high protein diet as it may reduce its effectiveness. A small amount of protein intake should be spaced equally throughout the day as per doctor direction.

At the beginning of the treatment, take Levodopa with meals, as it may lessen stomach upset effects.

With some time, when your body becomes familiar with it, start taking it on an empty stomach. It increases its absorption.

For patients taking Carbidopa and Levodopa extended-release tablets:

Swallow the tablet whole without crushing or chewing it, unless your doctor tells you not to. If your doctor tells you, you may break the tablet in half.

Don’t stop the drug if you think it is not working. It may take weeks to show its effects.

Dosage: Drug dose is different for different people. You should follow your doctor’s direction. The following information is average dose of this drug,

For Parkinson’s disease, Levodopa alone:

  • Adults and teenagers: 250 milligrams (mg) two to four times a day orally.
  • Children up to 12 years of age: Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
  • Levodopa and Carbidopa in combination
  • Adults: 1 tablet three or four times a day orally.

Missed Dose: If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember it. If it is almost the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular schedule. Doubling the dose is harmful.

4 Precautions to Take

Before using Sinemet, there are some precautions you must take.

Inform your doctor or dentist that you take this drug before any surgical procedures.

This drug may alter urine sugar or ketone. So diabetic patient should not depend on home urine sugar or ketones test.

While using levodopa for the first time, do not perform a task which requires alertness like driving, until you don’t know how you react to the drug, as levodopa can cause drowsiness, dizziness in some patient.

When your condition improves, make sure you increase your physical activities gradually to allow your body to adjust to changes in balance. It is especially important in elderly.

5 Potential Side Effects

If you notice any side effects of Sinemet, immediately make an appointment with your doctor.

All medicines have some side effects. Some people may experience none or minor side effects. Consult with your doctor if they become problematic or frequent.

Common side effects are:

  • Uncontrolled movements of body including face, arm, hand, head and upper body
  • Fluctuations
  • Hypotension
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Abnormal thinking: holding false beliefs that cannot be changed by fact
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Clenching or grinding of teeth
  • Clumsiness or unsteadiness
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty swallowing

Less common are:

  • Blurred vision, double vision
  • Large pupil,
  • Difficult urination
  • Depression
  • Increased blinking or spasm of eyelid

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.