Levodopa

(Brand names: Sinemet, Syndopa, Syndopa plus, Syndopa CR, Tidomet etc)

Levodopa is the MOST POWERFUL, POSSIBLY BEST medication for Parkinson’s disease.

If Parkinson’s was a jungle, Levodopa would be an Elephant. It is the Optimus Prime of Transformers, the Mount Everest of mountains… I could go on…

elephant 1526709 1920 e1573658216161
Levodopa = HUGE

How does levodopa work?

In a very simple fashion! Levodopa travels inside the brain, and is converted into Dopamine! As described here, low levels of dopamine in the brain is the main problem in Parkinson’s disease. So, levodopa directly addresses the basic problem.

LevodopaToDopamine
Once it enters the brain, Levdoopa is converted into Dopamine.

Use/Advantages:

  1. It is one of the strongest medications for Parkinson’s disease. It has a very marked effect on relieving the movement and many of the non-movement problems associated with Parkinson’s disease.

Disadvantages / Side-effects of levodopa:

  1. Absorption: Ideally, levodopa should be taken on an empty stomach. You should not eat at least 30 minutes (and if possible one hour) before and after taking levodopa. It is mainly protein in the food that hampers the absorption of levodopa. But, you should drink a glass of water with each dose to help the tablet dissolve.
    Stomach
    The absorption of levodopa is decreased if you have food in your stomach at the same time.
  2. Logistics: Levodopa needs to be taken multiple times in a day. In the initial stages, it has to be taken 3 times a day, but in the later stages, it may need to be taken 5 or more times per day. It is sometimes difficult to remember to take each dose on time!
    Clocks
    It is somewhat inconvenient to take Levodopa.
  3. Nasuea: Some patients complain of nausea after taking levodopa. Carbidopa, which is always given with levodopa, does decrease nausea somewhat.
    Usually, levodopa should be taken on an empty stomach because food decreases its absorption. But If the nausea is so very severe, then taking levodopa with a small piece of bread can be permitted. It is mainly protein that hampers the absorption of levodopa, and bread does not contain a lot of protein. Sometimes, your doctor may prescribe medications such as domperidone for this problem.

    Vomit
    High doses of levodopa can cause some people to become nauseous.
  4. Lightheadedness: Some people may complain that when they take levodopa, they feel lightheaded. This feeling usually goes away. Sometimes, it is caused by a drop in blood pressure when standing up. In this case, drinking enough water (7-8 glasses/day if okay with your cardiologist/nephrologist), and getting up gradually helps a lot.
    This often is worst in the morning or night. When you get up from bed in the morning, first sit by the side of the bed for some time. Then stand up gradually and stand by the side of the bed for some time. And only after you spend some time standing and feel stable, start walking (after 30 seconds – 1 minute).
    Rarely, medications (e.g. fludrocortisone or Pyridostigmine) may need to be given for this problem. Fludrocortisone increases the amount of fluid in the body. No one completely understands how Pyridostigmine works in this scenario. But it is a safe and very effective medication to prevent this kind of drop in blood pressure.

    Lightheadedness
    Some people may feel a bit lightheaded after taking levodopa.
  5. “Dyskinesias”: Earlier, some doctors used to believe that levodopa should be avoided in very early Parkinson’s disease. They were concerned that the early use of levodopa leads to the early development of abnormal movements called dyskinesias. However, most recent research shows that this is not a very valid concern. These movements are now believed to be due to the disease itself, rather than any particular medication. In very young patients, below 45 years of age, it may be reasonable to consider using drugs other than levodopa because of this concern.
    MichaelJackson2
    Dyskinesias are extra dance-like movements. Earlier, it was feared that levodopa worsens dyskinesias. However, this does not seem to be the case.
  6. Other side-effects: Since this book cannot be comprehensive, it is impossible to cover all side effects here. However, some patients report disturbed sleep etc. with levodopa – if you have any of these relatively rare side-effects you should make sure to talk about them with your doctor.

Bottom-line:

Since it is a potent, safe medication with minimal side-effects, levodopa is the most frequently prescribed medication for Parkinson’s disease.

Caution: This information is not a substitute for professional care. Do not change your medications/treatment without your doctor's permission.
Dr. Siddharth Kharkar

Dr. Siddharth Kharkar

Dr. Siddharth Kharkar has been recognized as one of the best neurologists in Mumbai by Outlook India magazine and India today Magazine. He is a board certified (American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology certified) Neurologist.

Dr. Siddharth Kharkar is a Epilepsy specialist in Mumbai & Parkinson's specialist in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.

He has trained in the best institutions in India, US and UK including KEM hospital in Mumbai, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), USA & Kings College in London.

Call 022-4897-1800

Send Message


NeuroPlus Epilepsy & Parkinson's Clinic - Dr. Kharkar IconNeuroPlus Epilepsy & Parkinson's Clinic - Dr. Kharkar

near LIC, Dr Balabhai Nanavati hospital, near LIC, Swami Vivekananda Road, LIC Colony, Vile Parle

4.7 57 reviews

  • Avatar JAIKUMAR MANI ★★★★★ in the last week
    My experience with Dr Siddharth Kharkar was really awesome. It’s always great to be in the presence of someone who is a renowned expert in his field & … More it brings peace of mind that the advice will obviously be the correct one. In addition, his ability to convey complex workings of the human brain in such simple terms that a layman like me could easily understand was something I really appreciated. I heartily Thank Dr Kharkar for his astute advice & gladly recommend him to anyone who needs a neurologist.
  • Avatar Rohit shetye ★★★★★ 3 weeks ago
    Best Dr. we have ever meet. Dr. Listened to us patiently and gave us the proper solution. No unnecessary test or didn’t frighten us. Thank you so much … More Dr.
  • Avatar Ashish Patil ★★★★★ 4 weeks ago
    Great doctor!! Really appreciate.The doctor diagnosed me correctly and start treatment that will help me a lots to improve my condition. The doctor is … More really good, calm and his nature is down to earth, gives confidence to patient!!! Thank you!!!
  • Avatar Bianca D'silva ★★★★★ in the last week
    We had been looking for a specialist in parkinsons for a while now, for my father and when we found Dr. Siddharth Kharka's details on Google, we were … More partly relieved. Partly because, we were all very anxious not knowing how would our visit turn out. I appreciate Dr. Kharkar and his team. He was very clear in his explanations, his knowledge about parkinsons. He took the time to answer the questions we had, went over the diagnosis and started necessary treatment immediately. The only drawback we experienced was the waiting time. Overall, we left the clinic satisfied, knowing much more than when we walked in. We would highly recommend him to anyone looking for a specialist.
  • Avatar Neelam Satghare ★★★★★ 4 weeks ago
    I have visited the doctor clinic for the first timeBut he gave good advice and helped me overcomeMy doubts and queries. It was a good experience.I am very … More thankful for cooperation.
  • Avatar Nitin Ghotge ★★★★★ a month ago
    Dr.Sidharth Kharkar is one of the best neurologist i came across ....He is really genuine and focused .....We really satisfied after consultancy...
  • Avatar Krishna kumari Radhakrishnan ★★★★★ 2 months ago
    Hi Sharing my experience with Dr KharkarI had consulted with dr regarding my husband’sProblems of tremors. Dr immediately diagnosed on video consultation … More and could help him to control the tremors s of Parkinson’s disease.I found him genuinely polite and free to talk n patiently listening to the patients problem.Now my husband regained his balance n tremors controlled. Many many thanks to Dr Kharkar
  • Avatar a kumar ★★★★★ a month ago
    Dr kharkar is very nice doctor, sir explained each and every thing very nicely, and i am thankful for Dr kharkar for his treatment .
  • Avatar Nidhi Sonawane ★★★★★ 3 months ago
    I had a positive experience with the doctor. He was very sympathetic. His communication skills were good and listened with patience.
  • Avatar Ujwala Sawant ★★★★★ a month ago
    Because of Dr.kharkar sir my husband got new life. Tnx sir.
  • Avatar Mythili Balasubramanian ★★★★★ 4 months ago
    Consultation with the doctor was a very satisfying experience. Was empathetic in his approach, and responded positively to all the queries we had. Thank … More you doctor!
  • Avatar Govind Patel ★★★★★ 2 months ago
    Doctor explained very Good nice person give length time to check body
  • Avatar Sharmila Kumawat ★★★★★ 6 months ago
    Dr Siddharth is one of the best Dr I have ever met. He is kind, polite, helpful and very selfless person. I have migraine and I am his patient since more … More than 2 years. The staff is always helpful and Dr Siddharth is just beyond words for me. Thank you for ur selfless service and kindness u give to all ur patients.

Leave a Comment

India Today Magazine - 2021Noted as one of the Best Neurologists in Mumbai