L Dopa drug is essentially used to treat the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. L Dopa is basically called the levodopa. Since Parkinson’s disease is caused lower levels of dopamine, levodopa travels inside the brain to convert into dopamine in order to relieve the patient from the symptoms of Parkinson.
How is L Dopa Prescribed to the Patient?
The doctor may prescribe the drug L Dopa to be taken regularly as an oral medicine. Usually a drug of Levodopa is given in combination with Carpidopa. This combination may prevent side effects to a great extent. The patient should remember to take the drugs in accordance with the prescription. In case he misses dosages, he should not take two or more dosages at the same time. This may lead to overdosing which can turn into a medical emergency. At times, instead of prescribing orally, the doctor directly injects the drug into the stomach of the patient through a surgical tube.
What are Risks Related to Using L Dopa?
L Dopa carries has its own set of risks which is manifested due to prolonged use of the same. They include-
Dizziness: Normal side effects include dizziness and vomiting. The patient may complain of feeling tires all the time.
Diskynesia: Long term risks include a phenomenon called diskynesia. In this, the patient experiences uncontrolled movement of the limbs.
Wearing Off: Wearing off is another long term problem which patients experience. This usually occurs when the effect of L dopa diminishes or goes away before the next dose. The patient experiences stiffness and tremors during the wearing off phase un contrast to the time when the effect of the drug is active.
Why is Carbidopa used Along with L Dopa?
A combination of Carbidopa is usually used with L Dopa so that it binds the molecules of L Dopa till it reaches the brain. Carbidopa cannot be used alone in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease because it does not have any effect on the patient. When used in combination with L Dopa, Carbidopa does not allow the molecules of L Dopa to break before reaching the brain. The patient should not stop using any of the prescribed drugs suddenly as it may lead to fatal conditions. In case of difficulties faced with the dosage, it should be reported to the doctor.
Can a Patient Suffer from L Dopa Overdose?
When the doctor prescribes dosage of L Dopa, he prescribes after a thorough physical check up of the patient. This means, the dosage prescribed by the doctor usually may not lead to a situation of overdose. However, there may be instances in which the patient may experience over dosage.
Older Adults: Elderly patients become more prone to over dosage because they become forgetful with age. Thus, the assistance of a care giver at least in case of Parkinson’s disease among the elderly is very essential.
Over Compensation: Compensation of missed dosages may also lead to over dosage of the L Dopa drug.
What is the Best Time To Use the L Dopa Drug For The Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease?
The L Dopa drug is essentially prescribed when the doctor feels the need of the same. In general, this drug can be used at any stage of the Parkinson’s disease. In the initial stages of Parkinson’s disease, dopamine agonists may be used because L Dopa is much a stronger medicine. The side effects of the drug may also be more intense than the dopamine agonists. Sometimes a combination of both the drugs may be used.