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Levodopa (Drug Treatment)

Did You Know?

You may have to take levodopa for several months before you feel its full effect.

Levodopa is the precursor required by the brain to produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter (chemical messenger in the nervous system). People with Parkinson's disease have depleted levels of dopamine. Levodopa is used to increase dopamine in the brain, which reduces the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Levodopa is broken down by the body before it reaches the brain. To avoid this, levodopa is used with carbidopa, a drug that protects levodopa from breakdown.

Welders that have been exposed to the toxic elements of manganese have been shown to have an earlier onset of Parkinson's Disease. Parkinson's Disease is characterized by certain symptoms, including tremors, stiffness, and slow movement which Levodopa can help ease. Levodopa can also help control other Parkinson's Disease symptoms like excessive salivation problems and oily skin.

Levodopa - Medicine

Levodopa comes as a capsule and tablet to take by mouth. Levodopa usually is taken several times a day. Your doctor may instruct you to take a small amount at first and then to increase your dose gradually to allow your body to adjust to this drug. You may have to take levodopa for several months before you feel its full effect.

Levodopa – Side Effects

Side effects from levodopa are common. Your urine will turn dark; this effect is not harmful. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • Dizziness
  • Upset stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty in speaking
  • Change in sense of taste
  • Decreased attention span
  • Memory loss
  • Nervousness
  • Nightmares
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Weakness
  • Increased sweating
  • Fatigue

If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

  • Unusual or uncontrolled movements of the mouth, tongue, face, head, neck, arms, and legs
  • Difficulty walking, especially starting to walk ('start hesitation')
  • Increased shaking of the hands
  • Back and neck muscle spasms
  • Fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeat
  • Eye pain

Welders that have developed Parkinson's' Disease from exposure to the highly toxic element manganese may find Levodopa to be an effective treatment method. This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

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