Breaking News: Potential U.S. Supply Shortage of SINEMET® and SINEMET CR® in 2011

Release date: 1/7/2011

Merck & Co. Inc. has informed the Parkinson’s disease community that in early 2011, there may be a potential temporary supply shortage in the U.S. for SINEMET® (carbidopa-levodopa) and SINEMET CR® (carbidopa-levodopa controlled release tablets).

While there is currently no shortage, it is advisable to speak with your health care provider about appropriate steps should a shortage occur. Your health care provider can give you relevant information about potential short-term alternative therapies, including the availability of alternative generic equivalents.

The FDA has shown generic SINEMET® to be effective against the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, but dosing may need to be slightly adjusted due to differences in manufacturing and formulation. Should you need to temporarily switch to a generic version of SINEMET®, be aware that some people may experience a change in how the medication works. If you do experience a change, contact your health care provider who may prescribe a different dose or timing regimen. 

Patients, caregivers and health care professionals in the U.S. who have more questions about the availability of SINEMET® can contact the Merck National Service Center at 1-800-NSC-MERCK.

NPF is committed to keeping you informed of developments on this issue. We will alert you if we get any more information about either a shortage developing or the crisis being averted. If you are informed by your doctor or pharmacist that SINEMET® is not available in your area, please contact us at 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636) or If you have any questions, Dr. Okun is prepared to address issues about the shortage and generic substitution on our Ask the Doc online discussion forum.