Levodopa review

Levodopa, also known as L-Dopa, is a central nervous system agent. It plays an important role in dopamine biosynthesis, and it is administered for the treatment and management of Parkinsons disease.

Parkinson's disease is characterized by low levels of dopamine, a natural chemical found in the brain. Levodopa is a pro-drug which crosses the blood-brain barrier and enters into the central nervous system where it metabolizes into dopamine. This increases the amount of the substance within the brain.

Manufactured under the brand names, Larodopa and Dopar, Levodopa is indicated for the treatment of shaking, stiffness, spasms, slowness of movement and poor muscle control that are usually associated with Parkinson's disease. It is also prescribed for conditions with symptoms that closely resemble Parkinson's disease, such as encephalitis (a swelling of the brain), and nervous system injuries stemming from carbon monoxide or manganese poisoning.

Doctors also recommend Levodopa for other types muscular illnesses caused by the side effects of some drugs like chlorpromazine (Thorazine), fluphenazine (Prolixin), and perphenazine (Trilafon).

Patients should inform their doctor if they have narrow-angle glaucoma (an eye disease), malignant melanoma (a type of skin cancer), heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), a history of heart attack, irregular heartbeat, asthma or other respiratory diseases, liver ailments, endocrine or hormonal disease, gastrointestinal diseases like ulcer, and depression or other similar psychiatric disorders before taking Levodopa. These cases require a different dosage and special monitoring during the course of treatment.

Patients who are currently taking a monoamine oxidase inhibitor like Marplan, tranylcypromine (Parnate), or phenelzine (Nardil) should refrain from starting Levodopa without first consulting their doctor. These medications may have adverse effects when taken together with Levodopa.

Other drugs which affect Levodopa include antacids, hypertension medicines, drugs used to treat seizures (Dilantin, Peganone, Mesantoin), papaverine (Pavabid, Cerespan), Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine, and antidepressants. Levodopa may also cause drastic changes in urine tests for sugar and ketones in diabetes, so it is advisable for diabetic sufferers to inform their doctor if they are taking Levodopa prior to urine testing.

It still hasn't been determined whether Levodopa is harmful to unborn babies or breastfeeding infants. It is advisable to consult a doctor if the patient is pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, before starting Levodopa treatment.

Patients should use extreme caution when driving a vehicle, operating heavy machinery or other risky activities. Levodopa can cause dizziness or drowsiness, so it is best to refrain from performing these activities while taking the medication.

Other side effects include mild nausea, vomiting or a loss in appetite, constipation, dry mouth and blurred vision, shaking hands and other muscle twitches, insomnia, confusion or nightmares, agitation or anxiety, darker urine and sweat, and fatigue. However, if the patient experiences a severe allergic reaction like breathing difficulties and facial swelling, uncontrollable movements, continuous nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, irregular heartbeat, unusual mood swings, depression, suicidal thoughts and seizures, they should stop taking Levodopa immediately and seek emergency medical care at once.

Levodopa is a prescription drug which is available in 100, 250, and 500 mg. round pink tablets under the brand name Larodopa. The Dopar brand manufactures capsules of the drug in green 100 and 500 mg. and 250 mg. green and white capsules. Levodopa is sometimes administered together with Carbidopa, a decarboxylase inhibitor which prevents Levodopa from dissipating before it reaches the central nervous system. Levodopa should be taken regularly as prescribed by the doctor to be able to get the best benefit from the treatment.

Levodopa has the following structural formula:

Chemical structure of levodopa

• Molecular formula of levodopa is C9H11NO4
• Chemical IUPAC Name is 2-amino-3-(3,4-dihydroxyphenyl)-propanoic acid
• Molecular weight is 197.188 g/mol
Levodopa available : 10-100mg tablets, 25-250mg tablets, 25-100mg tablets

Brand name(s): Atamet, Bendopa, Brocadopa, Cidandopa, Deadopa, Dopaflex, Dopaidan, Dopal, Dopalina, Dopar, Doparkine, Doparl, Dopasol, Dopaston, Dopastral, Doprin, Eldopal, Eldopar, Eldopatec, Eurodopa, Helfo-Dopa, Insulamina, Laradopa, Larodopa, Ledopa, Levedopa, Levopa, Maipedopa, Parda, Pardopa, Prodopa, Sinemet, Sinemet CR, Syndopa, Veldopa, Weldopa

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