The naturally occurring form of dihydroxyphenylalanine and the immediate precursor of dopamine. Unlike dopamine itself, it can be taken orally and crosses the blood-brain barrier. It is rapidly taken up by dopaminergic neurons and converted to dopamine. It is used for the treatment of parkinsonian disorders and is usually given with agents that inhibit its conversion to dopamine outside of the central nervous system. [PubChem]
Apo-levocarb - Tab 10mg/100mg
Apo-levocarb - Tab 25mg/250mg
Humans and other mammals
For the treatment of idiopathic Parkinson's disease (Paralysis Agitans), postencephalitic parkinsonism, symptomatic parkinsonism which may follow injury to the nervous system by carbon monoxide intoxication, and manganese intoxication.
Levodopa (L-dopa) is used to replace dopamine lost in Parkinson's disease because dopamine itself cannot cross the blood-brain barrier where its precursor can. However, L-DOPA is converted to dopamine in the periphery as well as in the CNS, so it is administered with a peripheral DDC (dopamine decarboxylase) inhibitor such as carbidopa, without which 90% is metabolised in the gut wall, and with a COMT inhibitor if possible; this prevents about a 5% loss. The form given therapeutically is therefore a prodrug which avoids decarboxylation in the stomach and periphery, can cross the blood-brain barrier, and once in the brain is converted to the neurotransmitter dopamine by the enzyme aromatic-L-amino-acid decarboxylase.
Mechanism of action
Striatal dopamine levels in symptomatic Parkinson's disease are decreased by 60 to 80%, striatal dopaminergic neurotransmission may be enhanced by exogenous supplementation of dopamine through administration of dopamine's precursor, levodopa. A small percentage of each levodopa dose crosses the blood-brain barrier and is decarboxylated to dopamine. This newly formed dopamine then is available to stimulate dopaminergic receptors, thus compensating for the depleted supply of endogenous dopamine.
Drug Info/Drug Targets: DrugBank 3.0: a comprehensive resource for 'omics' research on drugs. Knox C, Law V, Jewison
T, Liu P, Ly S, Frolkis A, Pon A, Banco K, Mak C, Neveu V, Djoumbou Y, Eisner R, Guo AC, Wishart DS.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2011 Jan; 39 (Database issue):D1035-41. | PMID:21059682