Comtan is a medication that is often prescribed along with carbidopa-levodopa products for the treatment of Parkinson's disease. It has no activity for treating Parkinson's when used alone, but can help levodopa work better and last longer in the body. Comtan comes in tablet form and is taken with every carbidopa-levodopa dose. Potential side effects include dizziness, nausea, and involuntary body movements.
What Is Comtan?
Comtan® (entacapone) is a prescription medication used to treat Parkinson's disease. It is always used in combination with carbidopa-levodopa products (Sinemet®, Sinemet CR®, or Parcopa®), as it does not have any activity for treating Parkinson's disease when used alone. The medication is useful for people who experience "wearing off" of their carbidopa-levodopa before each dose.
Comtan is made by Orion Corporation, Inc. and marketed by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.
How Does Comtan Work?
Comtan is always used in combination with carbidopa and levodopa; it has no effects against Parkinson's disease when used alone. It works by increasing blood levels of levodopa and helping it last longer in the body. The medication works by inhibiting an enzyme known as catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) that breaks down levodopa before it has a chance to reach the brain.
Effects of Comtan
In clinical studies, Comtan plus carbidopa-levodopa has been shown to be more effective than just carbidopa-levodopa for Parkinson's treatment. In these studies, people who were experiencing wearing-off fluctuations of their carbidopa-levodopa therapy were given either Comtan or a placebo (a "sugar pill" with no active ingredient) to take with each dose of their carbidopa-levodopa. These studies showed that Comtan helped carbidopa-levodopa work longer, with shorter "off" periods (when the medication did not work well) and longer "on" periods (when the medication worked well).
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Comtan [package insert]. East Hanover, NJ: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation;2009 February.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed October 12, 2012.
Orion Pharmaceuticals. Orion sues generic drug companies in the U.S. to enforce patents for entacapone (Orion's proprietary drug Comtan) (9/13/2007). Orion Web site. Available at: http://www.orion.fi/english/investors/stockreleases.shtml/a04?26712. Accessed March 25, 2008.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
National Library of Medicine (US). Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?HSDB. Accessed March 25, 2008.
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