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Parkinson's Disease

Carb/levo

09/29/2006

Question:

my mother in law was presribed carb/levo today. she has been expierencing tremors in her hands and says she sometimes feels a jumpiness in her stomach. she is also having a very hard time staying hydrated.i need some insight on this medication. the doc says she does not have parkinsons, but it is called parkiness. i may have parkiness spelled wrong.

Answer:

The "gold standard" treatment of Parkinson's disease is the medication, levodopa.  This is contained in several market formulations (Sinemet, Stalevo).  Levodopa is combined in all of these formulations (and the generic as well) with carbidopa.  This is an enzyme blocker that allows the levodopa to be used more efficiently. 

There are many other medicines for PD available, but there is still nothing as potent as levodopa.  Levodopa is transported to the brain where it is converted directly into dopamine.  Dopamine is one of the major brain chemicals deficient in PD. 

There are conditions that have the same basic features of PD (slowness, tremor, stiffness, imbalance) that are pathologically different than typical PD.  These are often referred to as "parkinsonism" or Parkinsonian syndromes.  There are also other causes of this such as certain medications. 

With the parkisonisms, it can be difficult to differentiate between the conditions, especially early on.  There are no blood tests or x-rays that reliably confirm these conditions.  All of them are commonly treated with the same medicines used in typical PD, such as levodopa. 

It is important that patients indeed have the features necessary to support the Parkinson's diagnosis.  There should be at least 2 of the features listed above.  The most common condition mistaken for PD is "benign essential tremor."  Patients should discuss this with their doctors if the only feature present is tremor.

For more information:

Go to the Parkinson's Disease health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Karen M Thomas, DO Karen M Thomas, DO
Formerly:
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University