Parcopa and Pregnancy Category C
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a category system to classify the possible risks to a fetus when a specific medicine is taken during pregnancy. Pregnancy Category C is given to medicines that appear to cause harm to the fetus in animal studies, but have not been studied in pregnant humans. Also, medicines that have not been studied in any pregnant women or animals are automatically given a "default" pregnancy Category C rating until more information becomes available.
When given to pregnant rats, carbidopa
and levodopa (the active ingredients in Parcopa) decreased the number of live pups born. When given to pregnant rabbits, carbidopa and levodopa increased the risk of various birth defects. No problems were seen when these medications were given to pregnant mice, however.
Animals do not always respond to medicines in the same way that humans do. Therefore, a pregnancy Category C medicine may be given to a pregnant woman if her healthcare provider believes that the benefits to the woman outweigh any possible risks to the unborn child. Parcopa has not been adequately studied in humans, and there have been only a few reports of women who took Parcopa during pregnancy (as Parkinson's disease
is rare in young women). In these few reported cases, Parcopa did not appear to cause any problems.
Parcopa contains phenylalanine
and is, therefore, not appropriate for pregnant women with phenylketonuria (PKU), as they must be very careful to limit their phenylalanine intake.