If you have Parkinson’s disease, your doctor might suggest Rytary as a treatment option for you. It’s a prescription drug used in adults to treat:
Rytary has two active ingredients: carbidopa and levodopa. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.) These ingredients help increase dopamine in the brain. Carbidopa belongs to a group of drugs called decarboxylase inhibitors. Levodopa belongs to a group of drugs called dopamine precursors.
Rytary comes as an extended-release capsule that you swallow.
This article describes the dosages of Rytary, as well as its strengths and how to take it. To learn more about Rytary, see this in-depth article.
Note: This article covers Rytary’s usual dosages, which are provided by the drugmaker. But when using Rytary, always take the dosage your doctor prescribes.
The information below describes the typical dosages of Rytary.
Rytary dosage when new to treatment
|Dosage increase (if needed)
|Maximum recommended dosage
|23.75 milligrams (mg) carbidopa and 95 mg levodopa taken three times per day for 3 days
|on the 4th day of treatment, your dosage may be increased to 36.25 mg carbidopa and 145 mg levodopa three times per day
|97.5 mg carbidopa and 390 mg levodopa taken three times per day
If this doesn’t manage your condition, your doctor may increase your dosing to five times per day, up to a maximum dosage of 612.5 mg carbidopa and 2,450 mg levodopa per day.
Note: This chart highlights the basics of Rytary’s dosage. Be sure to read on for more detail.
What’s the form of Rytary?
Rytary comes as an extended-release capsule that you swallow. This form of medication slowly releases the active ingredients into your body over time.
What strengths does Rytary come in?
Rytary comes in several strengths. These include:
- 23.75 mg carbidopa and 95 mg levodopa (23.75/95)
- 36.25 mg carbidopa and 145 mg levodopa (36.25/145)
- 48.75 mg carbidopa and 195 mg levodopa (48.75/195)
- 61.25 mg carbidopa and 245 mg levodopa (61.25/245)
What are the usual dosages of Rytary?
If you’ve never taken levodopa drugs before, your doctor will likely start you on a low dose of Rytary. Then they’ll modify your dose over time to reach the right amount for you. They’ll ultimately prescribe the lowest dosage that provides the desired effect.
If you’re changing from an immediate-release form of carbidopa and levodopa to Rytary, your doctor will need to do a dose conversion and calculate your daily dosage.
Your dosing schedule and the maximum dosage of Rytary you take will depend on how you respond to treatment. Your doctor will monitor you closely when you start this medication and adjust your dose if needed to optimize your treatment.
The information below describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. But be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. They’ll determine the best dosage to fit your needs.
Dosage for Parkinson’s disease and parkinsonism
Your dosage of Rytary will depend on whether you’ve taken certain medications before.
If you’ve never taken levodopa medications
If you’ve never taken a levodopa medication before, you’ll start with 23.75/95 three times per day for 3 days. Then your dosage may be increased to 36.25/145 three times per day. Your doctor will see how you respond to this treatment.
They may adjust your dose to the maximum dose of 97.5/390 mg. You’ll take this three times per day. (See the dosing chart above for the usual dosing information.)
Some people may need a more frequent dosing schedule to manage their symptoms. If you don’t respond to treatment with the maximum dosage of Rytary, your doctor may increase your dosing schedule to five times per day. The maximum total daily dose of Rytary is 612.5 mg carbidopa and 2,450 mg levodopa.
If you’ve been taking an immediate-release form of carbidopa and levodopa
If you’ve been taking an immediate-release form of carbidopa and levodopa, your doctor will need to calculate your Rytary dosage. Your daily dose of Rytary is based on the total daily dose of levodopa you were taking previously. The maximum daily dose for Rytary is 612.5 mg of carbidopa and 2,450 mg of levodopa.
You can learn more about dose conversion when switching from an immediate-release drug in Rytary’s prescribing information.
Is Rytary used long term?
Yes, Rytary is usually used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine it’s safe and effective for your condition, you’ll likely take it long term.
Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about Rytary’s dosage.
Is there a recommended dosing chart available for Rytary?
Yes, the dosing chart above provides information on the usual dosages of Rytary if you’ve never taken the drug before. (Your dosage of Rytary depends on whether you’ve previously taken drugs containing levodopa.)
If you’ve taken an immediate-release form of carbidopa and levodopa before, your doctor will need to calculate your starting dosage of Rytary. This is based on your previous daily dosage of levodopa. For more information, check out the table on page 4 of Rytary’s prescribing information.
Your doctor will explain your dosage of Rytary and closely monitor how you do with treatment. They’ll ultimately prescribe the best dosage to manage your condition while minimizing your risk of side effects.
If you have further questions, your doctor or pharmacist can provide more detailed information about your Rytary dosage.
Does Rytary have a dose calculator?
Yes, it does. Rytary’s drugmaker has a dosing tool for healthcare professionals to determine the best dosage for you. They can use this tool when converting dosages from an immediate-release form of carbidopa and levodopa to Rytary extended-release capsules.
Your doctor will calculate your Rytary dosage based on the total levodopa immediate-release dosage you were taking before. They’ll start you on an appropriate dose of Rytary and gradually increase it as needed to manage your condition.
For more information about Rytary dosing, see the drug’s prescribing information or talk with your doctor.
If you miss your regularly scheduled dose of Rytary, call your doctor’s office to discuss your next steps. They’ll let you know whether you should take the missed dose or skip it and continue with your usual dosing schedule.
It’s important to take Rytary regularly as prescribed by your doctor to avoid withdrawal symptoms. (These are side effects that can happen when you stop taking a drug your body has become used to having.) Talk with your doctor if you feel Rytary isn’t working for you, but do not stop taking it on your own.
If you need help remembering to take your dose on time, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or downloading a reminder app on your phone.
The dosage of Rytary you’re prescribed may depend on several factors. These include:
- the kind and severity of the condition you’re using the drug to treat
- other medications you take
- your overall health
Rytary comes as a capsule that you swallow several times per day as directed by your doctor. You can take the drug with or without food. But avoid taking Rytary with high fat or high protein foods, as these may interfere with how the drug works in your body. (For more information, see this article.)
If you have trouble swallowing capsules, see this article for tips on how to take this form of medication.
And for information on the expiration, storage, and disposal of Rytary, see this article.
Accessible drug containers and labels
Some pharmacies provide medication labels that:
- have large print
- use braille
- feature a code you can scan with a smartphone to change the text to audio
Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend pharmacies that offer these accessibility features if your current pharmacy doesn’t.
If you have trouble opening medication bottles, let your pharmacist know. They may have tips to help make it easier or may be able to supply Rytary in an easy-open container.
Do not take more Rytary than your doctor prescribes, as this can lead to serious side effects.
Symptoms of overdose
Symptoms caused by an overdose can include:
- dyskinesia (uncontrollable movements)
- tachycardia (fast resting heart rate)
- kidney problems
- low blood pressure
- muscle damage
- psychosis (loss of contact with reality)
What to do in case you take too much Rytary
Call your doctor right away if you think you’ve taken too much Rytary. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach America’s Poison Centers or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 (or your local emergency number) or go to the nearest emergency room.
Suddenly stopping or lowering your dose of Rytary can cause withdrawal symptoms*. These can happen if you’ve been taking Rytary for a while and your body has become dependent on it. (This is when your body gets used to a drug and needs it for you to function as usual.)
Withdrawal symptoms from suddenly stopping Rytary can be dangerous and similar to neuroleptic malignant syndrome. These can include:
- changes in blood pressure (either higher or lower)
- dangerously high fever
- loss of consciousness
- muscle rigidity
Do not stop taking Rytary on your own. Talk with your doctor if you experience bothersome side effects or feel the medication isn’t working for you. If they determine you should stop taking Rytary, they’ll wean you off of it gradually. This will help minimize side effects such as withdrawal symptoms.
* These are side effects that can occur if you stop taking a drug your body is used to having.
The sections above describe the usual dosages provided by the drugmaker. If your doctor recommends Rytary for you, they’ll prescribe the dosage that’s right for you.
Remember, you should not change your dosage of Rytary without your doctor’s recommendation. Only take Rytary exactly as prescribed. Talk with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your current dosage.
Here are some examples of questions you may want to ask:
- Does my dosage of Rytary depend on whether I’ve taken levodopa medications before?
- Will I experience withdrawal-related side effects if my dose is lowered?
- Would my dosage need to change if Rytary isn’t working for me?
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Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.