Madopar is a brand name of I-dopa drug sold predominantly in the United Kingdom, where the Parkinson's Disease Society reports that one in every 500 people suffer from Parkinsons disease. Despite its effectiveness, madopar is not for everyone as it presents several risks for side effects and complications in some patients. Madopar is not available in the United States or Canada, where doctors use other I-dopa drugs to treat the disease.
Common Side Effects
The most common side effects of madopar are not normally serious in nature. Many patients taking madopar experience nausea, vomiting or a loss of appetite. In addition, other gastrointestinal side effects are common, including dry mouth, diarrhoea and blurred visition. Also, many patients using madopar report slight hand tremors.
Other Side Effects
Madopar also has the potential to cause a number of other troublesome or annoying, but not dangerous, side effects. Nervous system and psychiatric effects like depression, drowsiness, mood changes and confusion are possible while taking madopar. Madopar also has the potential to cause an increased interest in sex or, conversely, a loss of interest in sexual activity. Rare skin effects of madopar include flushing, sweating, itching and rash.
There are some medications which produce unwanted side effects when used in conjunction with madopar. For instance, tricyclic antidepressants sometimes cause dangerous drops in blood pressure when taken with madopar. Although it is possible to combine madopar with other Parkinsons medications, there is an increased risk of side effects in such cases. Because the drug often causes drowsiness, you should be careful not to mix madopar with other drugs that make you sleepy as this could seriously impair your ability to remain alert. Examples of drugs to avoid include narcotics, sleeping pills and sedatives, antiepileptic drugs, and anti-anxiety medications.
In addition to minor side effects and the risk of interactions, madopar has the potential to cause serious medical complications. The most severe of these possible complications is rigidity or difficulty moving, which often mimics the later stages of Parkinsons disease. Severe gastrointestinal side effects of madopar include stomach ulcers and intestinal bleeding. In some rare cases, madopar causes hallucinations in patients or makes them fall asleep suddenly and without warning. The drug sometimes causes difficulty with vision as well.
Since it impairs reflexes and alertness, you should not operate a motor vehicle or heavy machinery while taking madopar. It is also important to avoid alcohol as drinking exacerbates the side effects of madopar. If you have certain medical conditions, you may not be able to take madopar due to its side effects. Such conditions include asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, glaucoma, a history of heart attack or disease of the liver, kidneys or lungs. Madopar increases the risk of birth defects and typically is avoided during pregnancy. In addition, madopar is people under the age of 25.