Comtan is a prescription drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1999. Comtan is prescribed as an adjunct (add-on) drug to Levodopa/Carbidopa if the latter drugs begin to lose effectiveness in treating motor symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. Combined with Levodopa/Carbidopa, Comtan may provide some benefit for those with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, Vascular Parkinsonism, Multiple System Atrophy, and Corticobasal Degeneration. Comtan is also known by its drug name, entacapone.
Comtan is not appropriate for people with a major psychotic disorder or a history of hypersensitivity to entacapone. Comtan must be used with caution in people with hypotension, colitis, mental illness, alcoholism, or problems with the heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, or blood vessels. Comtan may not be appropriate for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Comtan is a member of a class of drugs known as a COMT-inhibitors. Comtan inhibits the action of a molecule called catechol-O-methyl transferase, which converts Levodopa into an ineffective form. Comtan is believed to work by increasing the amount of Levodopa that reaches the brain, making Levodopa effective at significantly lower doses.
Some medications are available both as generic and branded products. Although generic and branded formulations of a drug contain the same active ingredients at the same concentrations, your body may react differently to different formulations. Check with your doctor before switching between drug brands or between generic and branded drugs.
How do I take it?
While you are on Comtan, your doctor will order regular blood tests to monitor your liver, kidney, and heart function. Examine your skin regularly for changes and visit your dermatologist regularly to check for signs of melanoma. If you have wide-angle glaucoma, make sure your ophthalmologist regularly monitors your intraocular pressure.
Comtan is taken orally as a tablet up to eight times a day with every dose of Levodopa/Carbidopa. Take one whole tablet with each dose; do not split, crush, or chew Comtan.
Avoid driving or operating machinery until you are certain you understand how Comtan affects you.
You may experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking Comtan suddenly. If you decide to stop taking Comtan, ask your doctor for a plan to decrease your dosage gradually.
Always follow your doctor’s instructions exactly when taking Comtan.
Multiple clinical trials have established that entacapone (Comtan) improves motor fluctuations in people with Parkinson’s Disease who are taking Levodopa/Carbidopa.
Comtan may increase the risk of strokes, heart attacks, and other potentially fatal cardiovascular problems more than Levodopa/Carbidopa does. The FDA is currently evaluating clinical data on this topic.
Common side effects of Comtan include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, dizziness, drowsiness, nervousness, headaches, confusion, memory problems, nightmares, problems sleeping, sweating, loss of appetite, or changes in the sense of taste. Tell your doctor if these side effects become worse. In combination with Levodopa/Carbidopa, Comtan may cause your urine, sweat, or saliva to turn dark colors, which can stain clothes.
Inform your doctor immediately if you experience a fast, pounding heartbeat, fainting, fever, rigid, stiff, or painful muscles, trouble breathing, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, depression, increased urge to have sex or gamble, stools containing blood or a tarry substance, vomit containing blood or a substance resembling coffee grounds, dark-colored or red urine, hoarseness, or abnormal body movements while taking Comtan.
Many drugs can cause allergic reactions that in the most serious cases, can result in death. Seek immediate medical help if you experience signs of a severe allergic reaction such as hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling in the face, throat, eyes, lips or tongue.