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Is Rytary better than Sinemet?

Medically reviewed by Melisa Puckey, BPharm. Last updated on Feb 12, 2024.

Is Rytary better than Sinemet CR?

Official answer


Rytary and Sinemet both contain the same medicines carbidopa and levodopa, which are used to treat Parkinson’s symptoms. The difference between them is how long each lasts in the body.
Rytary lasts in the body longer than Sinemet (immediate release) and longer than Sinemet CR (controlled release). This means that Ryatary is better at controlling Parkinson’s symptoms for longer and there is less “off” time between medicine dosing.

  • Sinemet is an immediate release tablet that reaches peak levels in half an hour and then levels decline.
  • Sinemet CR is a controlled release tablet that releases more slowly so peak blood level concentration is reached in about 2 hours and then levels decline.
  • Rytary is an extended release capsule that starts to work to relieve Parkinson's symptoms in about 1 hour and works continuously for 4 to 5 hours. Inside the capsule are microbeads of carbidopa-levodopa that dissolve at different rates, ⅓ of the beads dissolve fast and ⅔ of the beads dissolve slowly. This means that when you take the capsule it starts to work quickly and works for a longer time.

Why is a longer acting carbidopa-levodopa better for Parkinson's symptoms?

Carbidopa with levodopa often works well to control Parkinson’s symptoms but after prolonged use, the medicine effect wears off between doses causing “on” and “off” effects.

  • The “on” time is when symptoms are controlled and the “off” time is when Parkinson’s symptoms come back before the next dose is due.
  • By having a medicine that stays in the body for longer means that there is more “on” time and less “off” time.
  • Rytary extended release capsule lasts longer than a controlled release tablet and keeps the level of medicine high and steady. This means that Parkinson's symptoms are improved over a larger portion of the day as they have more “on” times and less “off” time.

For more information on Rytary click here: Rytary: 7 things you should know


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