Family doctor



LEVODOPA - a patient's guide


This drug is used to treat Parkinson's disease. This article profiles the medication, how it works, and possible side effects.

Brand names:

Levodopa with Benserazide: Madopar, Madopar HBS

Levodopa with Carbidopa: Sinadopa, Sinamet, Sinamet CR


Levodopa is used in the management of Parkinson's disease. It acts by increasing dopamine levels in the brain. The increased dopamine levels in the brain reduce the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, such as rigidity (stiffness) and tremors.


  • There may be problems with lowering blood pressure,especially on standing (postural hypotension)
  • Patients with glaucoma
  • Concurrent use of monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) medication. e.g. Phenelzine, Tranylcypromine, Moclobemide
  • Asthma
  • History of heart disease

Side effects:

  • Dry mouth
  • Stomach upset, nausea and vomiting and anorexia.
  • Sleeping difficulty
  • Dizziness and confusion
  • Reddish coloured urine and other body fluids
  • Headache
  • Involuntary movements of the body.
  • Hallucinations and depression
  • Stomach bleeding


  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitor medication, e.g. Phenelzine, Tranylcypromine, Moclobemide
  • Levodopa may increase the effect of blood pressure lowering medication.
  • Iron may reduce the absorption of levodopa.
  • Antacids may increase the absorption of levodopa.

Patient information:

  • This medicine should be taken on an empty stomach.
  • Do not stop taking this medication abruptly.
  • The effect of the treatment may be gradual, beginning a few days after commencing treatment.
  • The controlled release forms should be swallowed whole, not crush or chewed, e.g. Sinemet® CR tablets.
  • See your doctor if severe side effects occur.

See also:

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