We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Levodopa?

Niki Acker
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Levodopa is an intermediate step in the metabolization of the hormone dopamine from the amino acid tyrosine. Tyrosine may also metabolize into epinephrine or norepinephrine, also with levodopa as an intermediate product. In medicine, levodopa is prescribed to patients suffering from Parkinson's disease, as many of their symptoms are caused by a lack of natural dopamine in the brain.

Swedish scientist Arvid Carlsson pioneered the use of levodopa for patients with Parkinson's symptoms in the 1950s and won a Nobel Prize for his work in medicine in 2000. Neurologist Oliver Sacks discussed his experiences with levodopa therapy in his 1973 book Awakenings, adapted to film in 1990. 2001 Nobel Prize winner William S. Knowles developed a new method of synthesizing many pharmaceuticals which was primarily used for levodopa.

There are a few concerns with the use of levodopa to treat Parkinson's disease. Dopamine cannot be administered because it is blocked by the blood-brain barrier and cannot enter the patient's brain, but large amounts of levodopa become metabolized into dopamine in the patient's peripheral nervous system (PNS) before even reaching the blood-brain barrier. This results in a number of adverse side effects, especially in the long term.

Side effects of levodopa use may include low blood pressure, arrhythmia, nausea, hair loss, confusion, emotional disturbances, gastrointestinal bleeding, insomnia, and hallucinations. When used long term, levodopa may begin to decrease in effectiveness and may cause dyskinesia, or impairment of voluntary movement. As a result, doctors prescribe levodopa sparingly and often include peripheral DOPA decarboxylase inhibitors to limit the amount of levodopa metabolized in the PNS. Despite these concerns, levodopa is believed to be safer than other drugs used to treat Parkinson's.

Levodopa is also available in relatively small doses in over-the-counter supplement form. It is claimed to support body building and increase libido by increasing testosterone. Neither these claims nor possible side effects have been clinically evaluated. Remember to discuss any supplements you are considering taking with your doctor or nutritionist.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Niki Acker
By Niki Acker
"In addition to her role as a WiseGeek editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide range of interesting and unusual topics to gather ideas for her own articles. A graduate of UCLA with a double major in Linguistics and Anthropology, Niki's diverse academic background and curiosity make her well-suited to create engaging content for WiseGeekreaders. "
Discussion Comments
Niki Acker
Niki Acker
"In addition to her role as a WiseGeek editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide range of...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.