Sinemet is a prescription drug commonly used in the treatment of Parkinson's disease and parkinsonism caused by encephalitis, manganese poisoning, or carbon monoxide poisoning. The medication comes in tablet form and is typically taken three or four times a day. Sinemet is not suitable for everyone and can cause bothersome and serious side effects. Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, and involuntary movements.
Sinemet is made by Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc., for Merck & Co., Inc.
How Does Sinemet Work?
Dopamine deficiency (caused by a loss of dopamine-producing cells) in certain parts of the brain may be responsible for many of the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Although it would make sense to give dopamine to help treat Parkinson's, this does not work, as dopamine cannot cross the blood-brain barrier. Levodopa is a precursor of dopamine, which means the body can use it to make dopamine. Unlike dopamine, levodopa crosses the blood-brain barrier.
Levodopa is almost always given in combination with carbidopa. Carbidopa delays the conversion of levodopa into dopamine until it reaches the brain, preventing or diminishing some of the side effects that often accompany levodopa therapy. Carbidopa also reduces the amount of levodopa needed for Parkinson's disease treatment.
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 March 20, 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 20, 2008.
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