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Parkinson's Disease

How long does it take for meds to take affect



How long does it take for Parkinson`s Disease Meds to take affect. If a person is diagnosed with Parkinson`s Disease and given Sinemet, how long does it take to see a change?



Often, Parkinson's medications (including Sinemet) have to be started at a lower dose to help minimize potential side-effects.  Once the medication is tolerated, it is usually slowly increased to a dose that is considered therapeutic.  Some medications may take a few weeks after reaching a therapeutic dose until any benefit is seen.  However, the benefit from replacing dopamine with Sinemet is typically apparent within a few hours of a therapeutic dose.  There are also people who who may not notice a robust response within hours of taking Sinemet, but gradually over the course of a few days they see improvement in their symptoms.  These people often find worsening of stiffness, slowness, and tremor within a few days of stopping this medication.  

Therapeutic doses are different for everyone, and patients need to discuss this with the doctor prescribing the medication. 

In addition, taking Sinemet with protein rich foods (dairy products, meats, nuts, etc...) can decrease the absorption of this medication.  This problem can be overcome by taking this medication at least 30 minutes before any meal, and not with any protein rich foods.  It is fine to take this medication with carbohydrates such as cookies, crackers, soda, or juice in order to help minimize upset stomach.

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Response by:

Punit  Agrawal, DO Punit Agrawal, DO
Assistant Professor of Neurology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University