Levodopa is used on its own or together with other medicines to treat Parkinson's disease. Parkinson's disease is a disorder that affects movement of a person, causing symptoms such as tremors, muscle stiffness, slowed movement and impaired balance or walking.
Levodopa cannot cure Parkinson's disease but it can improve the quality of life for people who have the disease.
Levodopa may also be used to treat other conditions, as decided by your doctor.
Levodopa is also known as "L-dopa".
Take Levodopa exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
Take Levodopa with food to reduce nausea and vomiting. If you are unable to swallow the tablet, you may crush it and mix with some fruit juice before taking. Try to take Levodopa at the same time each day.
Levodopa must be taken regularly for it to be effective. Continue taking Levodopa even when you feel better. Do not stop taking it unless instructed otherwise, as stopping it suddenly could worsen your condition.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor or pharmacist know.
Alert your doctor if you have glaucoma (increased pressure in the eye) and history of skin cancer or any skin disease as Levodopa may not suitable for you.
Do not take Levodopa if you are taking or have ever taken a medicine to treat depression called a mononamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), such as phenelzine or tranylcypromine, especially in the last 14 days.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- lung disease
- heart disease
- kidney disease
- liver disease
- epilepsy (seizures or fits)
- osteomalacia (softening of bones)
- history of stomach ulcers
- history of mental illness
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
If you are going for an operation, including minor surgery and dental work, inform your doctor or dentist that you are taking Levodopa.
If you are diabetic, Levodopa may interfere with results of urine tests for sugar and ketones. Discuss with your doctor how you should monitor your urine tests while taking Levodopa.
Levodopa may cause drowsiness or dizziness. Levodopa may also cause you to suddenly fall asleep during your daily activities such as eating and watching television. You may not feel drowsy before you fall asleep. If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert.
Levodopa may cause your blood pressure to fall suddenly when you get up from a sitting or lying down position and you may feel giddy. To minimise this problem, stand up slowly.
Other side effects include any of the following: nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting and difficulty sleeping. These side effects are common especially when you have just started taking Levodopa.
Let your doctor know if you experience:
- fast or irregular heartbeart
- confusion and hallucinations (seeing, hearing or feeling things that are not existent)
- unusual changes in mood or behaviour (being too depressed, agitated, or having compulsive and impulsive behaviour)
- uncontrollable movements such as twitching or jerking
Levodopa may cause your urine, saliva and sweat to change to a darker colour. This is harmless, do not be alarmed.
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Do not take Levodopa if you are taking or have ever taken a medicine to treat depression called a MAOI, such as phenelzine or tranylcypromine in the last 14 days.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- other medicines for depression e.g. amitriptyline, imipramine
- medicines for mood disorder e.g. chlorpromazine, haloperidol
- medicines to neutralise the stomach acid or for nausea and vomiting e.g. antacids or metoclopramide
- medicines for high blood pressure e.g. methyldopa, clonidine
- medicine for epilepsy e.g. phenytoin
- vitamin supplements which contain vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) or iron
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Levodopa.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicine, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Avoid taking Levodopa together with protein-rich foods.
Avoid taking too much food which contains vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) such as liver, fish, whole grain cereals and beans. Too much vitamin B6 may work against the effects of Levodopa. Ask your doctor about the type of foods you need to avoid.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.