Generic Name: levodopa (lee voe DOE pa)Brand Names: Larodopa
Levodopa is a medication used to treat Parkinson's disease. Parkinson's disease is associated with low levels of a chemical called dopamine (doe PA meen) in the brain. Levodopa is turned into dopamine in the body and therefore increases levels of this chemical.
Levodopa is used to treat the stiffness, tremors, spasms, and poor muscle control of Parkinson's disease. Levodopa is also used to treat these same muscular conditions when they are caused by drugs such as chlorpromazine (Thorazine), fluphenazine (Prolixin), perphenazine (Trilafon), and others.
Levodopa may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.
Contact your doctor immediately if you experience uncontrollable movements of the face, eyelids, mouth, tongue, neck, arms, hands, or legs; severe or persistent nausea or vomiting; an irregular heartbeat or fluttering in the chest; or unusual changes in mood or behavior.Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities. Levodopa may cause dizziness or drowsiness. If you experience dizziness or drowsiness, avoid these activities.What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking Larodopa (levodopa)?Do not take levodopa if you have taken a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), tranylcypromine (Parnate), or phenelzine (Nardil) withinin the past 2 weeks. Do not take levodopa without first talking to your doctor if you have
narrow-angle glaucoma (angle closure glaucoma), or
malignant melanoma (a type of skin cancer).
Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you have
any kind of heart disease, including high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, hardening of the arteries, a previous heart attack, or an irregular heartbeat;
respiratory disease, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD);
an endocrine (hormonal) disease;
a stomach or intestinal ulcer;
wide-angle glaucoma; or
depression or any other psychiatric disorder.
You may need a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment if you have any of the conditions listed above.It is not known whether levodopa will be harmful to an unborn baby. Do not take levodopa without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant or could become pregnant during treatment. It is not known whether levodopa will be harmful to a nursing infant. Do not take levodopa without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Take levodopa exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these directions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.Take each dose with a full glass of water. Levodopa is usually taken several times a day with food. Follow your doctor's instructions.
It is important to take levodopa regularly to get the most benefit.
It may be several weeks or months before the benefits of levodopa are seen. Do not stop taking levodopa without first talking to your doctor.
Your doctor may want you to have blood tests or other medical evaluations during treatment with levodopa to monitor progress and side effects.Store levodopa at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and only take the next regularly scheduled dose. Do not take a double dose of this medication.
Symptoms of a levodopa overdose include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, weakness, fainting, confusion, hallucinations, muscle twitching, and agitation.
Avoid vitamin products that contain vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). This vitamin may reduce the effectiveness of levodopa.
an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives);
uncontrolled movements of a part of the body;
persistent nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea;
an irregular heartbeat or fluttering in the chest;
unusual changes in mood or behavior; or
depression or suicidal thoughts.
Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take levodopa and talk to your doctor if you experience
mild nausea, vomiting, or decreased appetite;
constipation, dry mouth, or blurred vision;
dizziness or drowsiness;
insomnia, confusion, or nightmares;
agitation or anxiety;
darkening of the urine or sweat; or
Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Antacids may increase the effectiveness of levodopa and lead to side effects. Ask your doctor about the use of antacids.
Tell your doctor if you are taking a medicine to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). Drugs taken to treat high blood pressure may be more effective when taken with levodopa, and very low blood pressure could result.
Many drugs may decrease the effects of levodopa. Tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following medicines:
drugs used to treat seizures, such as phenytoin (Dilantin), ethotoin (Peganone), and mephenytoin (Mesantoin);
papaverine (Pavabid, Cerespan, others);
pyridoxine or vitamin B6;
antidepressants such as amitriptyline (Elavil), doxepin (Sinequan), nortriptyline (Pamelor), desipramine (Norpramin), and amoxapine (Asendin); or
Levodopa may interfere with diabetic urine tests for sugar and ketones. If you are diabetic and notice changes in your urine test results, talk to your doctor before making any changes in your diabetes medication.
Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with levodopa. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines, including vitamins, minerals, and herbal products.