What Is Tolcapone Used For?
Tolcapone is used for treating Parkinson's disease. However, this prescription medication is only effective at treating Parkinson's when it is used with carbidopa-levodopa products. When combined with carbidopa and levodopa, tolcapone helps decrease the "off" times (when the medication does not work well) and increase the "on" times (when the medication does work well). There are currently no off-label tolcapone uses.
Tolcapone (Tasmar®) is a prescription Parkinson's disease medication. It is approved for use in combination with carbidopa-levodopa products (Sinemet®, Sinemet CR, or Parcopa®). The medication is specifically designed for people who are experiencing carbidopa-levodopa fluctuation symptoms, such as "wearing-off" (when the medication stops working before the next dose). Although studies have shown that people who do not have fluctuation symptoms may benefit from tolcapone, the risks of this medication (especially liver failure) outweigh the possible benefits for such people.
Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological disease that results from the loss of neurons in a region of the brain that controls movement. This creates a shortage of dopamine, an important brain-signaling chemical (neurotransmitter), causing the movement problems characteristic of Parkinson's. The exact cause of Parkinson's disease is not currently known.
Although early symptoms of Parkinson's disease may be subtle, people will eventually develop a characteristic tremor (shaking or trembling), typically when the body is at rest. As the disease progresses, symptoms may worsen and new ones may appear.
Depending on the severity of a person's symptoms, Parkinson's disease treatment can include:
- Medications (see Medications for Parkinson's Disease)
- Lifestyle changes and support.