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Check your meds

drugs

I took a good look at the medication I was taking and, to my surprise, I realized I’m not given the same medication each time a prescription gets filled.  I take four medications to provide relief from the symptoms of Parkinson’s, the main ingredients in three of them is carbidopa and levodopa.  The fourth prescription is for amantadine, which is supposed to help control the side effects of the carbidopa and levodopa.

My day revolves around taking my medication in a consistent and timely manner.  I can get into trouble if I have too much or too little carbidopa and levodopa in my system.  Too much and  dyskinesia kicks in and I can’t sit still, my heads bobs around, and I have dance-like movements.  Too little and I lock up – I tense up as if I were paralyzed.  The best I can do, and what I hope and strive for, is to live somewhere in between these two miserable extremes.

I’ve been prescribed four medications.  The brand name of one medication was Stalevo.  Stalevo contains entacapone, which is an agonist or helps in the absorption of, carbidopa and levodopa.  I have received three different medications for this drug.  One prescription was Stalevo 100(25/100/200MG), made by Novartis, described as oblong, rust, and engraved with LCE100.  The second drug was another brand name, made by Mylan, called Carbidopa, Levodopa, and Entacapone, described as oval, brown, and engraved with STO 100.  The third was a generic labeled as Carbi 25/Entacacpone 200/Levod 100MG, is also described as oval, brown, and engraved with STO 100.  I’m not sure which tablet works best.

The second medication was a generic extended release drug labeled as Carbidopa 50/Levodopa 200MG SA, described as oval, purple, and engraved with 521.  The next time I had the prescription filled I was given Carbidopa 50/Levodopa 200MG SA, made by Mylan, described as oval, purple, and engraved with 94.  I take this medication to help me sleep comfortably.

The third medicine was Sinemet (which literally means “no vomit”).  Sinemet is a brand name for carbidopa and levodopa.   I received four different medications for this drug.  One script was Sinemet (Carbidopa 25/Levodopa 100MG), described as round, yellow, and engraved with 650.  The second drug was made by Mylan, labeled Carbidopa 25/Levodopa 100MG SA, described as purple, oval, and engraved with 88. The third was a generic drug labeled as Carbidopa 25/Levodopa 100MG, described as round yellow, scored, and engraved with 539/R.  The fourth prescription was made by Mylan, called for Sinemet EQ (Carbidopa 25/Levodopa 100 MG) described as round, yellow, and engraved with M and CL2.  Of the four medications, the latter worked the best.  But when I asked the neurologist for that specific drug, he said he no control over which drug the pharmacy provided.

Finally, the fourth prescription was for Amantadine HCL 100MG, is described as a red capsule and stamped with GG634/GG634.  The next time I had the medication filled I was given Amantadine HCL 100MG, described as oblong, yellow, and stamped with C-122.  Between the two medications, the former worked the best.  I didn’t bother to ask for the GG634/GG634.

So, what’s the moral of this story?  I now read the labels on the medicine I’m given and look closely at the pills I’m taking.  I don’t assume they are always the same and that my body will react the same.  I keep track of the medicine the pharmacy is giving me.  Pharmaceutical manufacturers are allowed variances and tolerances when it comes to manufacturing drugs.  The government has allowances built in so producers can make their drugs cheaper, read generics here.  Drugs that treat more serious conditions, such as seizures, have smaller tolerances and are more expensive.  See which pharmaceutical manufacturer’s medicine works best for you and try to get it.  It never hurts to ask, but remember, its business first.  More on that in my next post.

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