Duopa treats the tremors, stiffness and slowness of movement caused by advanced Parkinson's disease.

Duopa Overview

Reviewed: January 12, 2015

Duopa is a prescription medicine used for treatment of advanced Parkinson's disease. Parkinson's symptoms, including tremors (shaking), stiffness, and slowness of movement, are caused by a lack of dopamine, a natural substance usually found in the brain.

Duopa is a single product containing 2 medicines: levodopa and carbidopa. Levodopa belongs to a group of medications called central nervous system agents. It is converted to dopamine in the brain. Carbidopa is in a class of medications called decarboxylase inhibitors. It works by preventing levodopa from being broken down before it reaches the brain.

Duopa comes as an enteral suspension to be given continuously over 16 hours through a tube that is put into your small intestines called a PEG-J.

Common side effects include swelling of hands and feet, nausea, changes in blood pressure, and depression. This medication may cause sleepiness. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do other activities until you know how Duopa affects you.


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Uses of Duopa

Duopa is a prescription medication used to treat symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.


Duopa Drug Class

Duopa is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Duopa

Serious side effects have been reported with Duopa. See the "Duopa Precautions" section.

Common side effects of Duopa include the following:

  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhea
  • dry mouth
  • constipation
  • changes in sense of taste
  • forgetfulness or confusion
  • nervousness
  • nightmares
  • difficulty sleeping
  • headaches
  • weakness
  • increased sweating
  • drowsiness
  • abnormal or impaired movement
  • difficulty controlling impulses
  • changes in blood pressure

This is not a complete list of Duopa side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Duopa Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medications you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take:

  • antidepressants such as amitriptyline (Elavil), amoxapine (Asendin), clomipramine (Anafranil), desipramine (Norpramin), doxepin (Adapin, Sinequan), imipramine (Tofranil), nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor), protriptyline (Vivactil), and trimipramine (Surmontil)
  • antihistamines
  • haloperidol (Haldol)
  • ipratropium (Atrovent)
  • iron pills and vitamins containing iron
  • isocarboxazid (Marplan)
  • isoniazid (INH, Nydrazid)
  • medications for high blood pressure, irritable bowel disease, mental illness, motion sickness, nausea, ulcers, or urinary problems
  • metoclopramide (Reglan)
  • papaverine (Pavabid)
  • phenytoin (Dilantin)
  • rasagiline (Azilect)
  • risperidone (Risperdal)
  • selegiline (Eldepryl)

This is not a complete list of Duopa drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Duopa Precautions

Serious side effects have been reported with Duopa.

  • unusual or uncontrolled movements of the mouth, tongue, face, head, neck, arms, and legs
  • fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeat
  • depression
  • thoughts of death or suicide
  • hallucinations
  • swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • hoarseness
  • difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • hives
  • black, tarry stools
  • red blood in stools
  • blood in vomit
  • vomit that looks like coffee grounds

Duopa can cause drowsiness, dizziness, and blurred vision. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how Duopa affects you.

Do not take Duopa if you:

  • are allergic to carbidopa/levodopa or any of its ingredients
  • are taking or have recently stopped taking a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI)

Duopa Food Interactions

Medications can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of Duopa, there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving this medication.

However, tell your doctor if you plan on changing your diet to include foods that are high in protein, such as meat, poultry, and dairy products, since these foods can affect the way your body uses the mediction.

Inform MD

Before taking Duopa, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions. Especially tell your doctor if you:

  • are allergic to Duopa or to any of its ingredients
  • have or have had glaucoma
  • have or have had melanoma (skin cancer) or a skin growth that has not been diagnosed
  • have or have had hormone problems
  • have asthma or emphysema
  • have mental illess
  • have diabetes
  • have or have had ulcers
  • have had a heart attack
  • have an irregular heart beat
  • have blood vessel, heart, kidney, liver, or lung disease
  • are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • have phenylketonuria

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take inclyding prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Duopa and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X - are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when medication is taken during pregnancy.

Duopa falls into category C. In animal stidues, pregnancy animals were given this medication and had some babies born with problems. No well-controlled studies have bene done in humans. Therefore, this medication may be used if the potential benefits to the mother outweight the potential risks to the unborn child.

Duopa and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.

Levodopa, one of the components of Duopa, has been detected in human breast milk. Caution should be exercised when Duopa is given to a nursing woman.

Duopa Usage

Take Duopa exactly as prescribed.

This combination medication is available as an enteral suspension to be given through a tube placed in the stomach or intestines. It is administered continuously over 16 hours once a day.

If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses of Duopa at the same time.

Duopa Dosage

Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on yoru prescription label carefully.

The dose your doctor recommends may be based on the following:

  • the condition being treated
  • other medical conditions you have
  • other medications you are taking
  • how you respond to this medication

The maximum dose of Duopa is 2000 mg of levodopa daily. Patients will usually still take an immediate-release form of carbidopa/levodopa in the evening after the daily infusion of Duopa.

Duopa Overdose

If you take too much Duopa, call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center or seek emergency medical attention right away.

If Duopa is administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting, it is unlikely that an overdose will occur. However, if an overdose is suspected, seek emergency medical attention.

Other Requirements

  • Duopa cartridges should be stored in the freezer. Thaw in a refrigerator before dispensing.
  • Protect Duopa from light.