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How often should carbidopa/levodopa be taken?

Medically reviewed by Sally Chao, MD. Last updated on Oct 1, 2021.

Official answer


The immediate-release (short-acting) form of carbidopa/levodopa is usually taken 3 or 4 times each day, while the extended-release (long-acting) form is typically taken 2 to 4 times each day.

Carbidopa and levodopa may come in capsules, which should be swallowed whole, or as tablets that disintegrate in your mouth.

Carbidopa and levodopa can also be delivered directly into your stomach, using a tube that is surgically inserted in the abdomen. When this method is used, patients are usually given an initial dose over 10 to 30 minutes, followed by a continuous dose over 16 hours.

Your doctor can help you decide on a schedule for how often and when to take carbidopa and levodopa. It’s important to adhere to the schedule closely, and it’s recommended that you take the medication at the same time each day.

It may be best to take your first daily dose 1 to 2 hours before eating your first meal of the day.

Taking carbidopa and levodopa soon after eating a meal that is high in fat and calories can elongate the time it takes for your body to absorb the medication and feel its effects. Eating lots of protein or acidic foods with the medication may also delay the onset of the medication’s effects.

This combination medication is used to treat Parkinson’s disease or related symptoms.

  1. U.S. National Library of Medicine MedlinePlus. Levodopa and Carbidopa. June 15, 2018. Available at: [Accessed September 27, 2021].
  2. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). RYTARY (carbidopa and levodopa) extended-release capsules, for oral use. January 2015. Available at: [Accessed September 27, 2021].
  3. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). SINEMET CR (CARBIDOPA-LEVODOPA) SUSTAINED-RELEASE TABLETS. Available at: [Accessed September 27, 2021].

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