Physicians who render treatment for Parkinson’s disease state the possibility of genetic factors playing a role along with a few environmental conditions for its incidence. Working or living amid toxic conditions such as being exposed to pesticides or other such chemicals is linked to the onset of this degenerative condition. If you have had a prior head injury, it is also considered as another risk factor. Drugs such as MAO-B inhibiting drugs, dopamine agonists as well as carbidopa are used for reducing the seriousness of this condition. But, what are the likely allergic reactions and needful precautions prior to starting your medication plan? It is important to know more on this front.

Despite considerable amount of research, the leading causes for Parkinson’s disease are not fully evidenced. One of the recent breakthroughs indicate a likely deficit of dopamine (a brain chemical which is used for transmitting neuro signals) as one of the likely reasons for the onset of such degenerative diseases. In another finding, death / damage of cells in the mid area of the brain – known as substantia nigra – is closely associated with this condition. These brain cells are found to influence the wellbeing of your bodily movements as well as motor function.

Of the many kinds of degenerative disorders, Parkinson’s disease is known to have a long term effect. It slows you down and makes it difficult to make movements / use your motor functions. This disorder is known to take effect in a slow and steady manner. The signs experienced at the first few months of its onset include feeling frequent spells of giddiness, stiffening of muscles, lack of balance and walking problems.

What is carbidopa and how does it work to treat Parkinson’s disease?

Carbidopa is a widely administered drug for treating the common signs of Parkinson’s disease. It is an established practice to take it along with another drug called levodopa. This combinatorial treatment help reduce the intensity of the symptoms of a few degenerative disorders / diseases. Of the several symptoms, active ingredients aim to reduce intensity of shakes or involuntary tremors, impairment of motor skills such as walking or hand / leg movements, stiffening of muscles.

Carbidopa – Mode of action

An important thing to remember about carbidopa is it is never consumed without levodopa; this is because its key chemicals help enhance the availability of the co-administered drug levodopa. It is the latter – once becomes processed – turns into dopamine in your system. In this milieu, it is essential to know that poor availability of dopamine is a leading cause for a slowing down of motor functions and / or movements. In a combinatorial plan – i.e., levodopa and carbidopa – the drugs complement each other and thus make ample level of dopamine in your brain.

Insufficient quantum of dopamine is a precondition for the onset of Parkinson’s. Thus, carbidopa helps your brain to have access to needful amount of levodopa (a precursor of dopamine). As a result, your system may witness a marked improvement in arm / leg movements as well as motor skills. The drug may also work on some protein folds (another cause for poor motor function); however, more studies are underway to establish the role carbidopa plays.

It is hence clear that a boosted level of “dopamine” – i.e., converted from levodopa, forms part of the treatment plan. This action is essential to ease your motor function as well as suppress the other signs linked to degenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. Always remember that active ingredients of carbidopa stop an excessive processing of levodopa (limiting the breakdown of its key chemicals). As an added advantage, carbidopa is also considered to reduce side effects of its fellow-drug levodopa.

Your caregiving team / pharmacist will advise you to administer this combinatorial treatment plan with or without a meal. The number of doses as well as the strength of your doses is influenced by seriousness of the underlying clinical condition, prior ailments, if any, your system’s reactions to the initial dosages of carbidopa and levodopa.

Intake of iron and proteins – Impact of carbidopa

Users living with lesser red blood cell count may be advised to take supplements of minerals – especially, iron as well as a few multivitamins. Added caution is needed with multivitamin supplements containing sizable amount of iron in them. Presence of excessive iron can halt the absorption rate of levodopa and may hence inhibit it being converted into dopamine. Also, carbidopa is always administered together with levodopa. Like iron or iron based supplements, intake of excessive proteins along with carbidopa may limit the availability of levodopa to your brain. As a general safety measure, it is highly recommended to decrease the intake of diet-based or supplementary proteins. Talk to your dietitian to know the foods which need to be limited to ensure an optimal availability of proteins in the system.

In general, it is good practice to consume carbidopa (in combination with levodopa) all through the duration of your treatment plan. Studies show that those who took the drug(s) at the same time each day experienced better outcomes and a quicker control of adverse signs / symptoms. In some cases, wherein the condition is at a fairly advanced stage, the effects of a prior dose can go away and the symptoms may reappear even before the next dose is consumed. For example, such users complain of walking problems or sudden stiffening of muscles once the effects wear off. Tell your doctor of all such discomforts; your dosage strength may be rescheduled to ensure safe dosages of this drug.

Allergies and hypersensitivity

You must never stop the combinatorial treatment plan (of levodopa and carbidopa) without taking the consent of your treating doctor. It can lead to harmful side effects if doses are stopped in an abrupt manner i.e., without telling your caregiving team. Your treating physician will always advise you to taper the last few doses to a bare minimal level; such a tapering action is essential to ensure withdrawal symptoms and also to arrest a quickened relapse of allergic reactions. In some users, an abrupt stop of this medication plan can result in a dangerous condition called neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS). If you sense allergic reactions such as a spike in body temperature, sudden tightening of muscles and breathing problems (showing up as faster rate of respiration, panting for breath, wheezing and gasping; in some cases, you may live in a confused frame of mind).

Those who have prior hypersensitivity or any known allergies to active ingredients of carbidopa and / or levodopa must tell their physician of needful details. This medication rarely causes allergic reactions or associated side effects. However, in some rare cases, allergies may show up in the form of dizziness, feeling very drowsy, itchiness, rashes, swelling of oral parts like lips or throat, as well as panting, wheezing, etc. In all such instances, consult with your treating physician as quickly as possible. It is a good practice to visit a local healthcare setting – such as a clinic – on an urgent basis.

If you encounter one or more of these side effects / discomforts, it is a prudent to seek medical assistance on an emergency basis. Users who are residents of the US are advised to reach out to 911 as quickly as possible; as an alternative measure, you may also call the helplines run by the food and drug administration (FDA) in the US. It is essential to know that this US-based drug clearing agency FDA has helpdesks to collect inputs on undesired side effects and allergies the drugs it has cleared cause. The FDA-run helpdesks provide needful medical help – on an urgent mode – to users who complain of adverse / unintended side effects soon after taking any of the above drugs. On the other hand, people living in any of the Canadian provinces are recommended to call a local poison control unit (working closer to your home) or swiftly establish contact with Health Canada.

Clinical track record and intake of carbidopa

Your treating doctor must know of all your earlier ailments. Those who have disorders like heart problems (erratic or faster heartbeats and pulse rates), liver disorders (inflammation of liver or internal swelling, cirrhosis, etc.) as well as chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (asthma, bronchitis or gasping for breath) must inform caregivers of such ailments. Those living with kidney related problems (such as a decreased output / discharge of urine and experiencing painful spells while urinating), being depressed or other mood related disorders must have their doctors updated of these conditions. Last but not least, women who aim to become pregnant should use a contraceptive or a suitable birth control measure. Also, active ingredients of carbidopa can pass through mother’s milk. So, women who are nursing a baby must keep their physician abreast of their treatment plans.

In sum, carbidopa is used for treating the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. It is often taken with levodopa. Such a combinatorial plan helps decrease symptoms caused by this degenerative condition. The drug works well to minimize adverse signs such as tremors, slowing down of motor skills, difficulties experienced while walking or while making movements of the limbs. Those who have prior allergies to carbidopa are advised to talk to their treating doctor and take needful precautions.

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