If you already take carbidopa-levodopa and entacapone (Comtan), it is usually simple to switch to Stalevo. Your healthcare provider will chose a Stalevo dosage that most closely matches your current carbidopa and entacapone doses. In some situations, an equivalent Stalevo dosage may not be available. Also, it is not known how to best switch people from entacapone and long-acting carbidopa-levodopa (Sinemet® CR) to Stalevo.
If you do not already take entacapone (Comtan), starting Stalevo can be a little more complicated. If you take up to 600 mg of levodopa per day (but not more) and do not have problems with dyskinesia (uncontrollable muscle movements) due to carbidopa-levodopa, your healthcare provider will probably start you at a dose that provides that same (or similar) amount of carbidopa and levodopa with the standard dose of entacapone. However, because entacapone increases the level of levodopa in your blood, your healthcare provider may need to decrease your dose if you develop bothersome side effects.
If you take more than 600 mg of levodopa per day, or if you are experiencing dyskinesia due to carbidopa-levodopa, you should not switch directly to Stalevo, since your levodopa dosage will likely need to be decreased. Your healthcare provider should add entacapone as a separate tablet and adjust the dose of the medications separately. Once the right doses of the medications are found, you can switch to Stalevo if desired.
Considerations for people taking Stalevo include the following:
- The medication comes in tablet form. It is taken by mouth usually three or four times a day (or however frequently you were taking carbidopa-levodopa).
- The protein in food can decrease the absorption of Stalevo into the body. Some healthcare providers recommended taking the drug on an empty stomach or with a low-protein diet. Officially, the manufacturer states that Stalevo can be taken with or without food.
- Make sure to take Stalevo at the same times each day to maintain an even level in your blood.
- For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. Stalevo will not work if you stop taking it. Do not stop taking the drug suddenly without first talking to your healthcare provider.
- If you are unsure about anything related to Stalevo or your Stalevo dosage, please talk with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.