Carb levo is a combination drug containing carbidopa and levodopa. One common brand name for this drug is Sinemet. Sinemet is used to treat Parkinson’s disease and certain other extrapyridimal movement disorders. As with all other medications, there is a risk that certain side effects may occur.
About 50 percent of patients taking carb/levo medications will experience some sort of nervous system side effect, most frequently including mental status changes and involuntary movements. Approximately 80 percent of these patients will develop some form of choreiform movements such as facial grimacing and twisting and chewing of the tongue. Sleep disturbances, especially nightmares, is commonly reported with the use of carb/levo, and may be partially eliminated with dosage adjustments. There have also been several reports of patients on carb/levo experiencing hallucinations while taking this drug.
There has been an increased instance of malignant melanoma in patients taking carb/levo. While this increase cannot be directly tied to the used of carb/levo, there has been a warning placed on the use of this drug limiting its use in patients with suspicious skin lesions. There has also been the occasional rash reported with the use of carb/levo, especially during the first few days, but this usually goes away with the use of antihistamines.
The most common gastrointestinal side effects reported are nausea and vomiting. Rare cases of gastrointestinal hemorrhage have been reported with the use of carb/levo. Occasional reports of anorexia have been reported, especially during the first few weeks of use. Carb/levo could cause existing stomach ulcers to worsen.
Severe reactions reported with the use of carb/levo include: hives; chest pain and pressure; shortness of breath; swelling of the lips, face and tongue; confusion; black, tarry stools; vomiting blood; severe confusion; and convulsions. Other severe reactions may include irregular heartbeat, changes in the appearance of a mole or skin lesion or thoughts of suicide. If you or someone you know should experience any of these reactions to carb/levo, you should notify your physician and proceed to your local emergency department as quickly as possible.
Other bothersome side effects that have been noted with the use of carb/levo include constipation, dizziness, dry mouth loss of appetite, urinary tract infection and headache. If these side effects should persist for more than a few days, contact your physician, as dosage adjustments may be needed.