News, Parkinson

Sinemet © expected drug shortage and discontinued sale of Sinemet CR ©

10 April 2019

Levodopa is the drug of choice for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Since 2017, the commercial forms of this molecule, Sinemet © and Sinemet CR ©, are on average, unavailable nearly 20% of the time.

To explain this repeated shortage, the Merck laboratory, which markets these drugs, mainly invokes problems of supply in the drug manufacturing chain and delays in delivery.

On April 4, 2019, the Merck Lab announced that the production of the drug Sinemet CR © was discontinued and that this product would no longer be available in Canada or the United States.

The regular formulation of Sinemet ©, which is the most used, is still on sale. However, its production is still affected by raw material supply problems. To solve this problem, Merck has identified a new supplier that needs to be approved by Health Canada. This approval can take up to a year, which could lead to further shortages.

The availability of Sinemet © depends on the dosage:

  • Sinemet © 100 / 25mg – Out of stock – Refill expected in July 2020.
  • Sinemet © 250 / 25mg – Stock depletion forecast December 2019 – Replenishment expected in July 2020.

What to do if you are taking levodopa – carbidopa sold in generic form (eg Apo – Levocarb)?

The majority of patients take a generic form of this medicine. This notice of shortage and cessation of sale does not affect you.

 

What to do if you take Sinemet © and it is no longer available?

Consult your neurologist or the doctor who prescribes this medicine. Your usual prescriber is the best person to recommend alternatives or adjustments to your treatment. If you do not have access to your neurologist, your pharmacist is a valuable resource who can also help you in substitution in case of shortage.

Do you have questions about how to live better with the disease?

You can contact our information and referral team at info@parkinsonquebec.ca or call 1 800 720-1307.

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