One of the frustrations of managing Parkinson’s is the mode of drug delivery to the brain.
Most of our medications are taken orally and levodopa-containing medications (Stalevo, Sadtravi, Sinemet and Madopar) require certain conditions to be optimally absorbed.
People with Parkinson’s have problems with the digestive system, because it slows down and becomes erratic.
Levodopa is not absorbed in the stomach. The stomach has to empty and then levodopa is absorbed in the next bit down in the small intestine, called the duodenum.
This is why we recommend taking your medication with a good drink of water (or carbonated drink) at least half an hour before a meal. This is to allow the stomach to empty and the levodopa to be absorbed before the food comes down on top. If your stomach is slow to empty and a meal is taken, you have to wait for the meal to digest, which could be up to 90 minutes, before levodopa reaches the duodenum. If there is protein in the meal, this may reduce the amount of levodopa that can reach the brain.
Therefore, taking your levedopa medications, with plenty of water, well before food, could help smooth out your Parkinson’s control.
Read the entire collection of articles from Liz since she started writing for us in 2010.