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Co-careldopa (carbidopa and levodopa) gel


Gel formulation for continuous intestinal administration containing carbidopa and levodopa.

Drugs List

  • co-careldopa (carbidopa 5mg/ml and levodopa 20mg/ml) intestinal gel
  • DUODOPA 5mg+20mg/ml intestinal gel
  • Therapeutic Indications


    Parkinson's disease

    For the treatment of advanced levodopa-responsive Parkinson's disease with severe motor fluctuations and hyperkinesia or dyskinesia when other medicinal products have not been successful.


    A temporary nasoduodenal/nasojejunal tube should be considered to determine if the patient responds favourably to this method of treatment before a permanent percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy with jejunal tube (PEG J) is placed. In cases where the physician considers this assessment is not necessary, the nasojejunal test phase may be waived and treatment initiated directly with placement of the PEG-J.

    The drug cassettes are for single use only and should be used for a maximum of 16 hours and not then re-used.

    The dose should be adjusted to an optimal clinical response for the individual patient, which means maximising the functional ON-time during the day by minimising the OFF episodes and the time OFF (bradykinesia) and minimising ON-time with disabling dyskinesia.


    The total daily dose should be composed of 3 individually adjusted doses: the morning bolus dose, the continuous maintenance dose, and extra bolus doses.

    Morning Bolus Dose:
    The morning bolus dose is administered by the pump to rapidly achieve the therapeutic dose level (within 10 to 30 minutes).
    The total morning dose is usually 5 to 10 ml (100 to 200 mg levodopa). This dose should not exceed 15 ml (300 mg levodopa).
    The dose should be based on the patient's previous morning intake of levodopa plus the volume required to fill the tubing.

    Continuous Maintenance Dose:
    The maintenance dose is adjustable in steps of 2 mg/hour (0.1 ml/hour). The dose should be based on the patient's previous intake of levodopa.
    This dose should be kept within a range of 1 to 10 ml/hour (20 to 200 mg levodopa/hour) and for most patients is usually 2 to 6 ml/hour (40 to 120 mg levodopa/hour). Exceptional cases may require a higher dose. Dose adjustment required when supplementary medicines are discontinued.

    Example of Dosage:
    Daily intake of levodopa: 1640 mg/day
    Morning bolus dose: 140 mg (7 ml excluding the volume to fill the intestinal tube)
    Continuous maintenance dose: 1500 mg/day
    1500 mg/day divided by 20 mg/ml = 75 ml over 16 hours = 4.7 ml/hour

    Extra Bolus Doses:
    Extra bolus doses may be administered if the patient becomes hypokinetic during the day. This dose should be adjusted individually, but is normally 0.5 to 2 ml. If the need for extra bolus doses exceeds 5 per day, the maintenance dose should be increased.

    After the initial dose setting, fine adjustments of the morning bolus dose, the maintenance dose and extra bolus doses should be carried out over a few weeks.

    If medically justified co-careldopa intestinal gel may be administered during the night.


    (See Dosage; Adult)


    For long term administration, the gel should be administered using a portable pump directly into the duodenum or upper jejunum by a permanent tube via percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy with an outer transabdominal tube and an inner intestinal tube. If this is not suitable for any reason, then a radiological gastrojejunostomy may be considered as an alternative.

    A positive test of the clinical response to this co-careldopa formulation administered via a temporary nasoduodenal tube is required before a permanent tube is inserted.

    Treatment may be discontinued at any time by withdrawing the tube and letting the wound heal. Treatment should then be continued with oral formulations.

    For administration of co-careldopa intestinal gel, only the CADD-legacy pump (CE0473) should be used. A manual with instructions for using the portable pump is delivered together with the pump.


    Children under 18 years
    Suspected malignant melanoma
    Within 2 weeks of discontinuing MAOIs
    Acute phase of cerebrovascular accident
    Cushing's disease
    History of malignant melanoma
    Malignant melanoma
    Narrow angle glaucoma
    Serious cardiac arrhythmias
    Severe cardiac failure
    Severe psychiatric disorder

    Precautions and Warnings

    General anaesthesia
    Predisposition to narrow angle glaucoma
    Predisposition to peripheral neuropathy
    Diabetes mellitus
    Endocrine disease
    History of myocardial infarction
    History of peptic ulcer
    History of postural hypotension
    History of psychosis
    History of seizures
    Open angle glaucoma
    Psychiatric disorder
    Pulmonary disease
    Severe cardiovascular disorder
    Severe hepatic impairment
    Severe renal impairment
    Supraventricular arrhythmias
    Ventricular arrhythmias

    Advise patient/carer risk of dopamine dysregulation syndrome (DDS)
    Not recommended for treatment of drug induced extrapyramidal reactions
    Advise patient somnolence may affect ability to drive or operate machinery
    Advise patient that sudden onset sleep episodes may affect ability to drive
    Exacerbation of bradykinesia may indicate tube blockage needing correction
    If a sudden deterioration in response occurs confirm correct tube placement
    Monitor closely patient with a history of myocardial infarction
    Monitor for melanoma regularly
    Monitor for mental changes, suicidal depression and antisocial behaviour
    Monitor for polyneuropathy before and periodically during treatment
    Monitor patients at risk of glaucoma for increases in intraocular pressure
    Monitor patients for impulse control disorders
    Monitor renal, hepatic and haematological parameters
    Response to treatment should be assessed using a nasoduodenal tube first
    Review treatment if impulse control disorders symptoms occur
    Contains hydrazine, a degradation product
    May cause postural hypotension
    Reduce dose if dyskinesia occurs
    May affect results of some laboratory tests
    May colour urine red
    Avoid abrupt withdrawal: May cause signs of neuroleptic malignant syndrome
    Reduce dose or discontinue if sudden onset of sleep during daily activities
    Advise patient/carer about symptoms of impulse control disorders

    Pregnancy and Lactation


    Co-careldopa is contraindicated in pregnancy.
    Manufacturer advises that should not be used unless benefits to the mother outweigh risks to the foetus.

    Animal studies have shown teratogenicity. Both levodopa and combinations of levodopa and carbidopa have caused visceral and skeletal malformations in rabbits. No adverse outcomes associated with this drug have been observed in a limited number of human pregnancies though. Data published in 1995 describes the two pregnancies which were terminated at 8 weeks and 10 weeks by a women with juvenile Parkinson's disease who had been taking 200/800 mg/day of carbidopa/ levodopa. The relatively high concentrations of dopamine in foetal peripheral organs and neural tissue implied that the foetuses had metabolised levodopa. Because neurotransmitters were known to alter early neural development in animals and cultured cells, the investigators cautioned that the increased amounts of dopamine found in this study suggested that chronic use of levodopa during gestation could induce long term damage. Because of this potential risk to the foetus, co-careldopa should not be used during pregnancy.

    Schaefer (2007) states that inadvertent use of a Parkinson drug not belonging to the broadly used ergotamine derivatives is not grounds for termination of pregnancy or grounds for invasive diagnostic procedures, although advises that detailed foetal ultrasonography may be considered in the first trimester.

    The use of all medication in pregnancy should be avoided whenever possible; particularly in the first trimester. Non-drug treatments should also be considered. When essential, a medication with the best safety record over time should be chosen, employing the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time. Polypharmacy should be avoided. Teratogens taken in the pre-embryonic period, often quoted as lasting until 14 to 17 days post-conception, are believed to have an all-or-nothing effect. Where drugs have a short half-life, and when the date of conception is certain, this may allow women to be reassured where drug exposure has occurred within this time frame. Further advice may be available from the UK National Teratology Information Service (NTIS) and through ToxBase, available via password on the internet ( ) or if this is unavailable at the backup site ( ).


    Co-careldopa is contraindicated in breastfeeding.

    Levodopa is excreted into human breast milk but it is unknown whether carbidopa is excreted. A study in 1974 provided clinical evidence that levodopa inhibits lactation. Doses of 500 to 3500 mg/day of levodopa were given orally to ten female patients with a history of inappropriate galactorrhoea. Partial to complete suppression of lactation was observed but when the treatment was stopped, lactation returned to normal. Briggs (2011) classifies levodopa and carbidopa separately as probably being compatible with breastfeeding. However, Hale (2010) puts levodopa in a risk category of possibly hazardous because there is positive evidence of risk to a breastfed infant or to breast milk production. Because of the potential for adverse effects in the newborn and the suppression of lactation, co-careldopa should not be administered to lactating women.

    Neonates, infants born prematurely, those with low birth weight, those with an unstable gastrointestinal function or who have serious illnesses may require special consideration. For any infant, if a drug is prescribed to the nursing mother, it should be at the lowest practical dose and for the shortest time. When drug administration is unavoidable and breastfeeding is to continue, minimisation of exposure of the infant to the drug may sometimes be achieved by timing the maternal doses to just after a feeding episode. Infants exposed to drugs via breast milk should be monitored for unusual signs or symptoms. Interactions between the drug received by the infant from the mother's milk and medication prescribed for the infant should also be considered, for example, when the drug given to the infant may prevent metabolism of the drug received via breast milk.
    Specialist advice is available from the UK Drugs in Lactation Advisory Service at

    Side Effects

    Activation of latent Horner's syndrome
    Bitter taste
    Blurred vision
    Burning tongue
    Chest pain
    Choreiform movement
    Complications associated with the administration device
    Discolouration of body fluids
    Dopamine dysregulation syndrome
    Double vision
    Dry mouth
    Duodenal ulcer
    Fine tremor (usually hands)
    Gait abnormality
    Gastro-intestinal symptoms
    Gastrointestinal bleeding
    Haemolytic anaemia
    Hair loss
    Henoch-Schonlein purpura
    Increased libido
    Loss of mental acuity
    Malignant melanoma
    Muscle spasm
    Narrow angle glaucoma
    Neuroleptic malignant syndrome
    Oculogyric crisis
    On/off episodes
    Orthostatic hypotension
    Pathological gambling
    Possible alteration of laboratory tests
    Psychotic episodes
    Pupillary dilatation
    Sense of stimulation
    Sudden sleep onset episodes
    Suicidal tendencies
    Unusual breathing patterns
    Urinary incontinence
    Urinary retention
    Weight changes

    Effects on Laboratory Tests

    Positive Coombs' tests have been reported.

    Co-careldopa may cause a false positive result when a dipstick test for urinary ketone is performed, and this is not altered by boiling the urine. The use of glucose oxidase methods may give false negative results for glycosuria.


    It is strongly recommended that the UK National Poisons Information Service be consulted on cases of suspected or actual overdose where there is doubt over the degree of risk or about appropriate management.

    The following number will direct the caller to the relevant local centre (0844) 892 0111

    Information may be obtained if you have access to ToxBase the primary clinical toxicology database of the National Poisons Information Service. This is available via password on the internet ( ) or if this is unavailable at the backup site ( ).

    Further Information

    Last Full Review Date: January 2014

    Reference Sources

    Drugs During Pregnancy and Lactation: Treatment Options and Risk Assessment, 2nd edition (2007) ed. Schaefer, C., Peters, P. and Miller, R. Elsevier, London.

    Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation: A Reference Guide to Fetal and Neonatal Risk, 9th edition (2011) ed. Briggs, G., Freeman, R. and Yaffe, S. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia.

    Joint Formulary Committee. British National Formulary. 66th ed. London: BMJ Group and Pharmaceutical Press; 2013. Joint Formulary Committee. British National Formulary (online) London: BMJ Group and Pharmaceutical Press Accessed on July 04, 2014.

    Martindale: The Complete Drug Reference, 37th edition (2011) ed. Sweetman, S. Pharmaceutical Press, London.

    Medications and Mothers' Milk, 14th Edition (2010) Hale, T. Hale Publishing, Amarillo, Texas.

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Duodopa intestinal gel. Abbvie Ltd. Revised November 2020.

    NICE Evidence Services Available at: Last accessed: 22 January 2018

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