Levodopa - How To Maximize Its Affects For Parkinson's?
DM - Neurology, MD - Medicine, MBBS
If you are being treated for Parkinson's disease. How can you maximize the effect of Levodopa? The effect of levodopa can be maximized by increasing its absorption from the digestive system. In particular, taking levodopa on an empty stomach is very important.
- Take on an empty stomach: Do not eat anything 1 hour before taking levodopa. Do not eat anything for at least 30 minutes and if possible 1 hour after taking it. Take the pill with 2 glasses of water so that it can dissolve. If taking the levodopa on an empty stomach makes you nauseous, confirm that your medication has the right amount of carbidopa in relation to the levodopa (25%). If you continue to feel nauseous, you can eat a piece of white bread around the time that you take levodopa. Do not apply any butter, yogurt, cheese or similar high protein spreads. Protein can drastically decrease the absorption of levodopa.
- Get your constipation treated: This is critically important too. Being constipated can slow down the passage of levodopa through the digestive system. In most patients, drinking adequate water and taking stool softeners is helpful.
- Get your ulcer treated: It can be difficult to recognize that you have a gastric ulcer. However, if you have a burning sensation in your stomach at any time, or belch frequently, you may have a gastric ulcer. If you think you have an ulcer you should get tested (there is a simple breath test now) and treated with antibiotics (not antacids!)
- Do not take levodopa with iron tablets: The iron binds to levodopa and prevents its absorption. Keep a gap of at least two hours between these two medications.
- Try taking levodopa with orange juice and carbonated water (soda): Mix equal quantities of orange juice and carbonated water (soda). Take your regular levodopa with a glass of this preparation instead of water. The carbonated water hastens disintegration of the tablet, and the acidity of both things helps in levodopa absorption. There are special tablets of levodopa (dispersible levodopa, Madopar) which can be dissolved in this preparation. Talk to your doctor about it.
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