Parkinson's Movement
12,453 members11,065 posts

Food + levadopa = ?

Are we supposed to avoid eating anything when taking our meds, or just avoid eating protein? It's my understanding it's best to wait for an hour after taking meds to eat.

52 Replies
oldestnewest

Prunes, banana, unsweetened cherry : each has very low protein. Some saurkraut is no protein.

3 likes
Reply

Take your meds on a empty stomach at least 1 hour before meals and at 2 hours after.

This works for me.

7 likes
Reply

Thanks. Very helpful!

Reply

Most days i eat several small meals. Big meals will effect my meds no matter when i eat them. If i feel fill full my meds don't work as well or not at all. If i eat till my tummy hurts my meds will not work much at all for as much as 6 hours.

8 likes
Reply

My.MDS told me a half hour to an hour before a meal and one hour after. I take a Sinemet when I get up. When meals are off schedule I have had issues, also when I push myself too hard.

1 like
Reply

yep my nuero says the same

Reply

I've found that if i eat a gluten free cereal bar and some fruit with my breakfast meds and something like a sandwich on brown bread plus maybe a biscuit with my lunchtime meds then they seem to do their job. I then have a meal in the evening. The trouble is, i'm not always that sensible, for example recently when it was my husband's birthday - we went out for lunch and i overate then again in the evening. I then felt dreadful all of the next day because my afternoon and evening meds did not seem to work.

8 likes
Reply

Sheesh! We don't get any "days off" for holiday celebrations or "time off for good behavior," do we?

6 likes
Reply

Hi my husband is the one with parkinsons, he has a cup of coffee with the first meds if the day then has breakfast an hour later - poached egg on toast or something similar. Meds at at 8 , then 11, lunch an hour later around 12 - something light , soup sandwich etc. Meds at 2 and 5 main meal around 5.45 , then meds st 8pm. If we go out to eat and he is having a heavy meal he takes an extra Madapor dispersable about 20 mins before he eats. We think the amount of food as well as protein has an effect on absorption of meds x

3 likes
Reply

Med times have always clashed with meal times and vice versa. Putting off taking meds for an hour throws everything out of sync & I would detest eating a Sunday roast that had gone cold, on my own, however delightful a glass of fine red wine in quiet contemplation may be. :)

3 likes
Reply

You are right! But, as I understand it, you should NOT TAKE LEVODOPA MEDICATION WITHIN 90 MINUTES TO 2 HOURS AFTER EATING FOOD CONTAINING PROTEIN. The FACT is: When levodopa and protein are in the gut together they join up and form some other compound that does not get to the brain, where it is needed. So why take it in the first place.

It is no use saying "I have to eat" when the medication doesn't get to the brain! Organize your meals accordingly. If yo have to take levodopa medicine in less than 4 hours apart, something is wrong!

4 likes
Reply

I do not necessarily agree with your last sentence. Levodopa medicine comes in various dosages, & usefulness to requirement, may also depend on certain other aspects (like levels in amino acid & proteins etc.) within the CNS.

However, if Levodopa is absorbed through the stomach wall, I can certainly understand some protein types having effect upon or blocking the transit process in some way.

1 like
Reply

John is correct, according to our Dr @Mayo clinics. A larger dosage does NOT mean it will last longer, 4 hrs is ~length it will last, dopamine has a short half-life and that is why it needs to be taken every 4 hr., some feel they need to take it even sooner than 4hr. Then, wait 2 hrs after meal for the stomach to be empty. They used to say after protein, Dr now says for ANY meal, wait 2 hrs. also says NOT with any other meds, too.

1 like
Reply

That aspect may in general ring true, yet in the past I have stayed 'On' for a lot longer than 4hrs., closer to 6hrs., in between the doses; And then, when the 'On' period has shortened to 2hrs, I have regained the 5+hrs.,periods in being 'On' by taking a lower dose.

Reply

I am not knocking levodopa for its ability to hide some of the Pd symptoms. I merely make people aware that it does NOTHING TO SLOW DOWN THE PROGRESSION OF PD. If patients genuinely need to take levodopa in order to function properly then take it. But also start doing something to slow down the progression of Pd or even reverse some of those symptoms by doing high intensity exercise. Then try to come off the levodopa as you start to get better, in order to avoid the side effects.

3 likes
Reply

Does that go for mucuna dopa also. The natural form?

1 like
Reply

That’s what I use and I find that to be true I used to use synthetic levodopa and protein foods mess with the efficacy of both

2 likes
Reply

That's important to know, Buzz, thanks. I take dopa mucuna also.

Reply

I am not aware that Mucana has any side effects!

Reply

not side effects... does food or protein interfere with it?

Reply

I don't see why it would not be interfered with by the protein. I am not a scientist.

Reply

John:

My husband has only been diagnosed for about a year and half, and he is already taking 3 tablets @ a time of Crbo/Levo up to 7 times a day = 21 pills daily!! doesn't give him much time to plan around for meals and keep a somewhat normal life

1 like
Reply

That seems an awful lot of leva/carbodopa. My hubby is in his 10th year. He take one, 25/250 × along with encapatone. 4 times a day. He also has 1mg azilect in the morning and pramipexole twice a day, we have cut that down feom three times and are trying to alleviate it all together.

1 like
Reply

I am not a doctor, only a patient. I would say there is something gravely wrong here. After one year having to take so much levodopa is over the top. I would get a second opinion if I were you.

2 likes
Reply

Dhill

There are lots of other factors besides amountof pills. It is very important to know the strength of the pills because three pills could be any number of types with differing strengths. Also age makes a difference. That said 7 times/day in 2nd year of diagnosis is unusual. The protein problem isnt always a problem at the beginning of taking meds. Your husband can test it out for himself.

You may seek information from whomever you wish but i suggest you to be careful, we people here are not qualified and some make claims or make comments that are not accurate.

I hope your husband is able to see a movement disorder neurologist.

1 like
Reply

Yes, Parkinson's disease.😊

1 like
Reply

The advice from Bailey-Texas is generally true about having Levadopa before meals or at 2 hours after, unless it is a controlled release version. With a controlled release version, it does not matter what time you eat. The ideas about avoiding protein or dairy bother me, because it is almost impossible to avoid protein when you eat almost any food. See Diet for A Small Planet 10th Anniversary edition for the truth about protein and food.

4 likes
Reply

I would say that eating any food within 1 hour of taking medication or taking medication within 2 hours of eating is foolish, if you want to get the best out of the medication.

1 like
Reply

I can get by with eating 30 minutes after med time and I try to take my meds on an empty stomach. Big meals or holiday grazing interfere with my meds.

1 like
Reply

That sounds like sage advice. take your meds on as empty as stomach as you can. You had some of us have discovered drinks for certain food items that seem to enhance absorption which is probably an individual thing . Some people swear the drinking coffee with your meds helps I’m not in that group

1 like
Reply

My movement specialist recommended chewing the tablets and/or taking them with fizzy water (seltzer water).

1 like
Reply

I take my first med at 8am after not eating since 10pm the previous night

I do PD exercises for an hr then enjoy breakfast

Next med 11am then morning tea at noon

Next med 2pm then lunch 3pm

Next med 5pm then dinner 6pm

Next med 8pm then supper 9pm

& then start all over again the next day

I know my meds are working cause of the dystopia 1-2hrs after meds & my yellow Pee lol x

5 likes
Reply

HI all. I take my CL about 8:00 every morning. My problem is that I get nauseous around noon and then get sweaty and heated up. Sometimes it happens around 2:00. I try to take my second dose around 12:30-1:00. If I wait till 2:00 to take it I seem to feel yucky. I don't eat protein with my medicine. I take my medicine on an empty stomach but when I get nauseas I have some dry crackers. So my problem is naiseau and hot and sweaty. Oh and of course i am tired often. I work in an office but by the end of the day I need a short nap or rest. Sorry to get off track. Thanks for listening. I am from Pennsylvania.

5 likes
Reply

I too get a feverish about 20 min before my next scheduled dose and about 20 min after. Always wonder what causes this. Also I get chilled sometimes after dose. Weird but also concerns me.

1 like
Reply

In PD the autonomic nervous system is involved which can include the heat regulating part in your brain. I dont understand the physiology of it but i know i experience unexpected sweats or feeling cold. Some people have temperature issues as a wearing off symptom.

Reply

It can be hard to take on an empty stomach as dopa often causes nausea. It’s a very individual thing but if you eat, stay away from protein for a while after. Test it out and see....it either works or it doesn’t.

1 like
Reply

I have found that when I feel myself fading between doses (one 25/100 & one 50/200 every 4 hours) I take 1/2 of a 25/100 for a pick me up till my next regular dose time. i've had PD for at least 16 years.

4 likes
Reply

Thank you for the insight.

Reply

Beckey, if you take the carbi/levo pills on an empty stomach and wait 45 minutes to an hour before eating, you will probably find that the dose lasts four to possibly six hours. (Assuming you’re not taking othe PD meds. ) If you take it with any food, you will find the dose lasts possibly only 3 to four hours. If I have taken the pill with food and feel that the effect is wearing off sooner than usual, I don’t hesitate to take the next dose earlier than usual.

I try not to let that happen very often as I don’t like the feeling of restless legs that starts to let me know that the next dose is due.

I was diagnosed with PD ten years ago and was on only Azilect until a year ago. Although the dosing frequency of dopamine is annoying, overall I feel much better because the fatigue, slowness and stiffness is much improved.

2 likes
Reply

While I am in the early stages of PD, I am able to continue my normal lifestyle, which is busy and varied, and involves being away from home quite a bit. I find it impossible to keep to a timed routine of meals and meds (3 madopar daily). I've had conflicting advice on which is most important - maintaining a steady 4 hr interval, or not taking meds close to meals, and also varying advice on the length of time before/after meals. In short, it's all very haphazard with me. Sometimes I just have to take the madopar close to eating. I am managing okay this way, but I guess I will reach a stage where I have to alter my lifestyle to fit in with the medication.

1 like
Reply

I remember those days. Enjoy!

1 like
Reply

I get up around 6am and have 2 cups of coffee then 45 minutes on recumbent bike with sets of free weights mixed in. Bowl of cereal then get ready for work. I take Azilect before leaving and have first Entacapone 9am when I get to my office and it kicks in 45-60 minutes and last about 2 1/2 hours. Next pill around noon and light lunch at 1 with little or no protein. By 2:45 I know I'm ready for next pill and then dinner around 6 with protein. If I'm in for the night no more meds if going out I'll take 4th pill. I move slower during off times but can function close to normal other than a very stiff right hand and the sluggish feeling that comes with it. I should mention I added a tablespoon of Mannitol to 1 cup of morning coffee. For me I know protein definitely interferes with meds and anything with sugar seems to help. I guess we're all different other than the protein thing.

4 likes
Reply

Phusson. I totally admire your ability to work out in the a.m. -- and to continue to work!

1 like
Reply

I saw your post about mucuna. I donot want to take prescription drugs. Will muncuna alone help tremor. That is the only symptom i have.

Reply

I definitely have to take my meds with food - toast, or cereal or soya youghurt. Otherwise my stomach hurts and I feel nauseous. However, what is happening to me at the moment is that soon after I take my meds, I develop all the nasty Parkinson's symptoms ie freezing, difficulty walking or doing any thing, I'm helpless. At which point I'm either dragging myself round the house, abandoning anything to do with small movements or just siting down until the meds kick in. This doesn't happen all the time but I want to understand why this is happening. Because of the impact of protein on levodopa, I wait half an hour after having taken my meds before I eat. I have also found that taking ibuprofin with my meds seems to speed up the absorption and improve the efficacy of the drugs. Similarly if I exercise, it seems to help make the meds kick in faster.

4 likes
Reply

Bigmama53,

You wrote "meds". What besides levodopa and perhaps carbidopa?

Reply

I take Stalevo, Azilect, Mirapexin and Amantadine

Reply

Yes it is awful and confusing as well isnt it bigmama. That started happening to me and I couldnt work out what to do about it. I was and still am on a similar regime of meds as you. What I have found works for me at the moment is taking Stelevo (equivalent) and Amantadine (im not on Azilect) first thing. I have a biscuit if I feel yuk then about an hour later have the mirapexin with food. I think it was the big hit of meds that affected me. Its not perfect and I still get “wearing on” symptoms but it is much better than it was. The fluctuations in dopamine levels seems to effect some of us more than others. Good luck.

1 like
Reply

Been on c/l for 3yrs. And Azilect for one year. Doc told me can eat meals anytime; however, I notice nausea if I wait too long especially in morning to eat breakfast. Nausea tends to subside after I eat something. Also have wondered if meds have been compromised if I have a meal to close to the doses. I think it is a trial and error thing. I continue to learn from my reactions and especially reading others post is helpful.

1 like
Reply

Opt8

Everyone is different but more people than not will have slower absorption of the drug and less drug absorbed if the stomach is full of competing contents. If you don't get too nauseated, it's worth trying to take med with water and wait for 45 minutes before you eat. Somebody mentioned taking the c/l with ibuprofen and personally, I think that's very likely to add to anyone's nausea.

Good luck however you play it!

2 likes
Reply

These past two weeks have been brilliant. I've taken my meds on time, sometimes slightly earlier (depending on circumstances) and they have worked their magic. Its like not having Parkinson's but I can feel the devil lurking!

2 likes
Reply

My current understanding. Eat 1 hr before, 2 hr after. Does not apply to ER C/L, with or without food

Reply

You may also like...