Carbidopa is a competitive inhibitor of aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase that does not cross the blood-brain barrier, is routinely administered with levodopa (LD) for the treatment of the symptoms of idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (paralysis agitans), postencephalitic parkinsonism, and symptomatic parkinsonism, which may follow injury to the nervous system by carbon monoxide intoxication and/or manganese intoxication. Current evidence indicates that symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are related to depletion of dopamine in the corpus striatum. Administration of dopamine is ineffective in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease apparently because it does not cross the blood-brain barrier. However, levodopa, the metabolic precursor of dopamine, does cross the blood- brain barrier, and presumably is converted to dopamine in the brain. When levodopa is administered orally it is rapidly decarboxylated to dopamine in extracerebral tissues so that only a small portion of a given dose is transported unchanged to the central nervous system. For this reason, large doses of levodopa are required for adequate therapeutic effect and these may often be accompanied by nausea and other adverse reactions, some of which are attributable to dopamine formed in extracerebral tissues. Carbidopa inhibits decarboxylation of peripheral levodopa. Carbidopa has not been demonstrated to have any overt pharmacodynamic actions in the recommended doses. NCATS
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