Compare Apokyn vs. carbidopa / levodopa

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Apokyn (apomorphine)

Prescription only
Helps you move around.

Apokyn (apomorphine) is good for treating the "off" episodes or difficulty moving around when you have advanced Parkinson's disease, but it can cause vomiting and sudden sleepiness.

Treats Parkinson's disease.

Sinemet (carbidopa / levodopa) is the first choice treatment for Parkinson's disease.

  • Preferred drug according to the guidelines to treat the "off" periods or inability to control movements well that's associated with Parkinson's.
  • People respond to the injection of Apokyn (apomorphine) very quickly and this response can last longer than other medicines.
  • Sinemet (carbidopa / levodopa) is widely available as a regular pill, a quick dissolving pill or a liquid taken through a feeding tube.
  • Sinemet (carbidopa / levodopa) is available in generic.
  • Can cause vomiting and sudden sleepiness. Your doctor will have to give you a medicine to stop the vomiting from happening.
  • Apokyn (apomorphine) should only be used if you have an "off" period of moving around. You should keep using your other medicines for your Parkinson's.
  • Dosing can be confusing since the pen only dispenses in milliliters, and there have been reports of people getting overdoses of Apokyn (apomorphine) because they thought it was for milligrams.
  • Stopping Apokyn (apomorphine) suddenly or lowering the dose too quickly can cause your muscles to become very stiff and you might get a very high fever, which can be life threatening. Talk to your doctor if you want to stop taking this medicine.
  • Can make you very sleepy.
  • Can stain your saliva, sweat and urine a dark color.
  • Will lose its effect over time as your disease progresses.
  • May need to be taken several times during day to control symptoms of Parkinson's disease
  • May cause unusual cravings in some people.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Injection
  • Pill
  • Dissolving tablet
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Side effects
9possible side effects
  • Yawning
  • Movement problems
  • Drowsiness or sleepiness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Runny nose
  • Chest pain
  • Hallucinations
  • Swelling in arms and legs
See more detailed side effects
The Sinemet (carbidopa / levodopa) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and risk factors
  • Fainting
  • Hallucinations
    • Taking antipsychotic medicines
  • Falling asleep during the day
    • Taking other medicines for Parkinson's disease
  • Increased risk of heart attack or stroke
    • History of heart disease or stroke
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Priapism
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Falling asleep during the day
    • Taking other medicines for Parkinson's
  • High fever and confusion
    • Stopping Sinemet (carbidopa / levodopa) suddenly
  • Changes in behavior
  • Lack of impulse control
    • Taking other medicines for Parkinson's disease
  • Changes in blood pressure and falls
See more detailed risks and warnings