Medically reviewed on February 26, 2018.
What is carbidopa and levodopa?
Levodopa is converted to dopamine in the brain. Carbidopa helps prevent the breakdown of levodopa before it can reach the brain and take effect.
Duopa (Duopa) is a combination medicine used to treat movement problems in people with advanced Parkinson's disease. Duopa reduces the "off time" effect associated with taking other medicines to treat Parkinson's symptoms.
Duopa is a gel form of carbidopa and levodopa that is infused directly into the small intestine. This medicine is given with an infusion pump through a tube inserted into the wall of your stomach through a surgical incision called a "stoma" or a "port."
Carbidopa and levodopa may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Do not use carbidopa and levodopa if you have used an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine, and others.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to carbidopa or levodopa.
Do not use Duopa if you have used an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine, and others.
To make sure Duopa is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
low blood pressure, or a history of fainting spells;
narcolepsy or a history of falling asleep during the daytime;
a muscle disorder such as myasthenia gravis;
nerve problems that cause numbness or tingling in your hands or feet;
a history of depression, mental illness, or psychosis;
heart disease, high blood pressure, heart rhythm disorder.
It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
Duopa can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.
Duopa is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.
How should I take carbidopa and levodopa?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor will occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
You will need a surgical procedure to create your stoma. A special tube called a "PEG-J" tube, will be placed through the stoma and into your small intestine. This tube is attached to an infusion pump that will deliver Duopa into your body.
Duopa comes in a plastic cassette that is attached to the infusion pump. Your care provider will program the pump and show you how to use it. Read all patient information, medication guides, and instruction sheets provided to you. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
Duopa is infused over a 16-hour period to help keep a steady amount of the drug in your body at all times. The infusion pump also allows extra doses if needed to reduce "off time" symptoms.
After the 16 hours, you may disconnect the pump and take a night-time dose of oral carbidopa and levodopa (tablets). You may also need to take the oral medicine if your pump is disconnected during the day for longer than 2 hours.
Your stoma and tube will need special care and cleaning. You must watch for signs of infection (redness, warmth, swelling). You must also keep the tube from getting kinked to assure that the medicine flows freely through it.
Do not stop using the medicine or change your dose without your doctor's advice.
This medicine can cause unusual results with certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using carbidopa and levodopa.
Each single-use Duopa cassette is for one 16-hour use. Throw away after one use.
Store cassettes in their original carton in the refrigerator, do not freeze.
Take a cassette out of the refrigerator 20 minutes before using it, to allow it to reach room temperature. Protect the cassette from light. Do not use the cold cassette right after taking it out of the refrigerator.
What happens if I miss a dose?
You may need to use extra medicine to make up a missed dose. Call your doctor for instructions if you stop your infusion or disconnect your pump for longer than 2 hours.
To avoid a missed dose, get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking carbidopa and levodopa?
Some people using carbidopa and levodopa have fallen asleep during normal daytime activities such as working, talking, eating, or driving. Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how Duopa will affect you. Dizziness or severe drowsiness can cause falls or other accidents. Also avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy. Get up slowly and steady yourself to prevent a fall.
Drinking alcohol with this medicine can cause side effects.
Avoid taking iron supplements or eating a diet that is high in protein (protein sources include meat, eggs, and cheese). These things can make it harder for your body to digest and absorb carbidopa and levodopa. Talk with your doctor or nutrition counselor about the best foods to eat while you are using Duopa.
Carbidopa and levodopa side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
severe dizziness or light-headed feeling;
daytime sleepiness or drowsiness;
uncontrolled muscle movements, worsening of tremors (uncontrolled shaking);
intense urges such as increased sexual urges, unusual urges to gamble, or other impulsive behaviors;
confusion, hallucinations, unusual changes in mood or behavior;
numbness, tingling, or weakness in your hands or feet;
depression or suicidal thoughts;
chest pain, fast or irregular heart rate; or
severe nervous system reaction--very stiff (rigid) muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors, feeling like you might pass out.
You may also have complications from the surgical procedure needed to insert the PEG-J tube into your stomach. Tell your caregives right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms:
severe ongoing constipation;
bloody or tarry stools;
severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back; or
pain, swelling, redness, warmth, or oozing around the stoma where the PEG-J tube was inserted.
Common side effects may include:
complications from your surgical procedure;
swelling around the the PEG-J tube;
swelling in your hands or feet;
increased blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, pounding in your neck or ears);
mouth or throat pain;
cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing; or
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect carbidopa and levodopa?
Taking this medicine with other drugs that make you sleepy can worsen this effect. Ask your doctor before taking Duopa with a sleeping pill, narcotic pain medicine, muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:
blood pressure medication;
medicines, vitamins, or mineral supplements that contain iron; or
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with carbidopa and levodopa, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 1.01.
More about Duopa (carbidopa / levodopa)
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- Support Group
- Pricing & Coupons
- En Español
- 0 Reviews – Add your own review/rating
- Drug class: dopaminergic antiparkinsonism agents