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What are the side effects of levodopa for Parkinson's disease?

The short-term side effects of levodopa are nausea, lightheadness, involuntary movements (dyskinesias), or hallucinations. They are all fully reversible with simple dose reductions. The long-term side effects are a by-product of disease progression. They include dyskinesias and also early wearing-off of doses (dose failures). In most patients, these side effects can be managed through adjustments of the levodopa dose, or by adding a second or third drug to smooth the response or to reduce side effects. In extreme cases, deep brain stimulation surgery can reduce side effects (dyskinesias, wearing off), allowing patients to use levodopa more effectively.

Side effects of Sinemet (levodopa-carbidopa), which treats Parkinson's disease, include lightheadedness, sleepiness and headache. In older people, it can cause confusion, hallucination and delusions.

When Sinemet is taken for many years, abnormal involuntary movements, such as a rocking motion may occur. These movements are different from Parkinson's tremors. Sinemet also may become less effective the longer a person takes it, so some people may need to take it more frequently to help manage their symptoms.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.