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What Is Carbidopa Used For?

How Does Carbidopa Work?

Dopamine deficiency (caused by a loss of dopamine-producing cells) in certain parts of the brain may be responsible for many of the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Although it would make sense to give dopamine to help treat Parkinson's, this does not work, since dopamine cannot cross the blood-brain barrier to reach the brain. Levodopa is a precursor of dopamine, which means that the body can use levodopa to make dopamine. Unlike dopamine, levodopa crosses the blood-brain barrier.
 
Levodopa is almost always given in combination with carbidopa. Carbidopa delays the conversion of levodopa into dopamine until it reaches the brain, preventing or diminishing some of the side effects (especially nausea and vomiting) that often accompany levodopa therapy. Carbidopa also reduces the amount of levodopa needed for Parkinson's disease treatment. It is very important to understand that carbidopa has no effects on Parkinson's disease when used without levodopa.
 
Although most people take carbidopa as a carbidopa-levodopa combination product, rarely, some people need to take additional carbidopa. In such cases, increasing the carbidopa dose (without increasing the levodopa dose) can be helpful.
 

Carbidopa Uses in Children

Carbidopa is not approved for use in children. Discuss the potential risks and benefits of the drug with your child's healthcare provider.
 

Off-Label Carbidopa Uses

On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend carbidopa for something other than the conditions discussed in this article. At this time, however, there are no universally accepted off-label uses for carbidopa.
 
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