Stalevo is a medication often prescribed to treat Parkinson's disease. The main component (levodopa) is used for treating symptoms of Parkinson's, while the other two components of the drug (carbidopa and entacapone) help levodopa work better and longer. The drug is available by prescription only and comes in tablet form. Potential side effects include involuntary movements, nausea, dizziness, and diarrhea.
Stalevo® (carbidopa-levodopa-entacapone) is a prescription medication used to treat Parkinson's disease. It contains three different medications and is approved for use in the following situations:
- To substitute for carbidopa-levodopa (Sinemet®) plus entacapone (Comtan®) in people already taking these medications
- To replace carbidopa-levodopa in people experiencing "wearing-off" symptoms (when the medication stops working before the next dose) who take 600 mg of levodopa per day or less and who are not experiencing dyskinesia (a movement disorder that is a side effect of carbidopa-levodopa).
Stalevo is made by Orion Corporation, Inc. and marketed by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.
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, since dopamine cannot cross the blood-brain barrier.
Stalevo contains the following three medications:
- Levodopa -- Levodopa is a precursor of dopamine, which means that the body can use it to make dopamine. Unlike dopamine, levodopa crosses the blood-brain barrier.
- 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.
- Entacapone -- Entacapone inhibits an enzyme (catechol-O-methyltransferase or COMT) that breaks down levodopa before it has a chance to reach the brain. Entacapone increases the level of levodopa in the body and helps it to work longer.
Levodopa is the "real" medication in Stalevo that treats Parkinson's disease. The other two medications help levodopa work better and longer.