If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD), then you have probably been informed that there are currently no medications that will cure this progressive neurological disorder. However, Sinemet or generic Carbidopa/Levodopa can be prescribed by your doctor to help you gain control over some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s, including tremors, decreased movement, and postural instability. If your PD is in the very early stages, your doctor may hold off with medications until the symptoms begin to interfere with your daily life. The generic alternative is not manufactured by the company that makes the brand drug.
The focus of Sinemet is to increase your brain’s level of dopamine, one of numerous neurotransmitters that work to communicate information all through your brain and your body. When taken as directed, Levodopa makes its way to your brain and is converted into dopamine, which is important for planning and controlling your body’s movements. Carbidopa tags along with Levodopa to stop it from being converted until it has crossed the blood/ brain barrier. This ensures your brain will receive maximum benefits from Sinemet.
Parkinson’s disease occurs when certain nerve cells in your brain do not operate as they should and are unable to produce dopamine which is important for sending signals to your brain for controlling your movement. With the breakdown of the nerve cells, your movements become slow and unsteady and you may notice a tremor in your hands, arms, or legs.
This is a very slow, progressive disease that takes many years before it gets to the point where you may need assistance with walking, have trouble speaking, and possibly begin to lose your mental skills. Scientists and researchers are working hard to find answers to what causes the nerve cells to break down, so for now your doctor can prescribe Sinemet to help control the symptoms of PD.
Tell your doctor about any medical conditions or allergies you have and list all Rx and OTC meds you currently take or use, including herbal remedies and vitamin or dietary supplements. This will help your doctor determine if Sinemet is safe for you to take or if any of your drugs need adjusting. You will usually be prescribed a low dose of Sinemet to start and increase it gradually to avoid possible nausea.
You should not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine you are taking without consulting with your doctor first. It is important to see your doctor regularly to monitor your symptoms. If you were already taking other Parkinson’s meds, tell your doctor before taking Sinemet as you may need to wait two weeks between drugs to avoid the risk of high blood pressure. Do not drive or attempt any tasks that may be unsafe until you know how Sinemet will affect you. Keep all medications out of children’s reach.