Co-beneldopa (including Madopar®) change to “special container” status

From 1 February 2023 all Co-beneldopa products, including Madopar, will be provided in pack sizes of 100 only.

This change means that people with Parkinson’s should speak to the person who prescribes their medicines, usually their GP, to ensure their prescription for Co-beneldopa or Madopar tablets and capsules, of all strengths, is adequate.

“Special container” status and what it means

Generally, a product is granted “special container” status where it is not practical to split a pack, for example where the product is sterile or could absorb moisture from the air, which could mean the medicine isn’t as effective.

This means that pharmacies are required to supply a “special container” or combination of containers nearest the quantity ordered on the prescription, rather than the exact quantity prescribed. 

The new “special container” arrangements for all Co-beneldopa and Madopar capsules and tablets means that the product will be supplied in complete, manufacturer, original packs (100 tablets or capsules).

When the quantity prescribed falls exactly between 2 containers, pharmacists have been told to round down, and supply the nearest complete container. When the quantity ordered is more than halfway into the second pack size, the second complete container should also be supplied.

This could mean that a person with Parkinson’s might need to access their next repeat prescription either a few days earlier or later than they usually would have done. 

For example, a person who receives a decrease in supply compared to the usually prescribed quantity, may need to access their next repeat prescription a few days earlier. However, a person who receives an increase in supply compared to a prescribed quantity may need to access their next repeat prescription a few days later.

What you should do

If you take Co-beneldopa or Madopar, this change could mean you get more or less than you're are used to. 

If this is the case, speak to your prescriber to ensure you have enough medication and that this change is reflected on your records.

Pharmacists and their teams should explain what these changes mean to each person affected.

Support for you

Our specialist adviser team can provide information about any aspect of living with Parkinson's, including any advice or support you may need on accessing health services or benefits.