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March 2011, Volume 41 Number 3 , p 66 - 66


  • Sarah Kovosi BScN, RN
  • Michelle Freeman MScN, BScN, RN


My medical-surgical patient with Parkinson disease (PD) is worried about receiving his levodopa/carbidopa on time. Can you explain why?-J.R., MO.Sarah Kovosi, BScN, RN, and Michelle Freeman, MScN, BScN, RN, replied: PD is a disorder of the central nervous system resulting from a lack of dopamine, an important neurotransmitter.1 Each patient is unique, but most experience bradykinesia, rigidity, postural instability, and tremor. Several other symptoms may occur in PD; symptoms gradually worsen as the disease progresses.Levodopa, a precursor of dopamine, is the drug most commonly prescribed for PD. Dopamine doesn't easily cross the blood-brain barrier and is usually combined with carbidopa. This combination inhibits the breakdown of levodopa, making more drug available when it reaches the brain.2,3 For optimal symptom control, levodopa/carbidopa should be taken on a very precise schedule. Some patients fear hospital admission because they don't trust the staff to administer their medication

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