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Bromocriptine tablets and capsules contain the active ingredient bromocriptine mesilate, which is a type of drug called a
dopamine agonist. (Bromocriptine is available without a brand name, ie as the generic drug.) Bromocriptine works by
stimulating dopamine receptors in the brain. This can have several results, hence the drug has several different uses.
Bromocriptine is mainly prescribed to treat disorders that result from high levels of the hormone prolactin in the blood.
Prolactin is produced by the pituitary gland in the brain. Bromocriptine decreases the production of prolactin from the
pituitary by stimulating dopamine receptors.
A high prolactin level is associated with several conditions. Over-production of this hormone can cause abnormal
production of breast milk in both men and women (galactorrhoea), as well as suppression of the sexual glands (hypogonadism),
which can result in infertility. High prolactin levels are associated with some breast and menstrual disorders.
Reducing prolactin levels with bromocriptine can therefore improve these conditions.
Bromocriptine is sometimes prescribed to prevent or stop milk production for medical reasons following childbirth,
miscarriage or abortion. Prolactin is the hormone that stimulates the production of breast milk, hence decreasing the
production of prolactin with bromocriptine stops milk production.
A further use of bromocriptine is to reduce prolactin production from a type of tumour of the pituitary gland, called
Bromocriptine's action on dopamine receptors decreases the production of growth hormone from the pituitary gland.
This is useful for treating conditions where growth hormone is overproduced, such as acromegaly.
Lastly bromocriptine can be prescribed to treat Parkinson's disease. The neurotransmitter dopamine is known to be
reduced or absent in the brains of people with Parkinson's disease, and this is thought to be the cause of the disease
symptoms. Stimulating dopamine receptors with bromocriptine is similar to replacing the dopamine in the brain, and this
reduces some of the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.
Why is Bromocriptine prescribed?
- preventing or stopping milk production (lactation) for medical reasons following childbirth miscarriage or abortion;
- parkinson's disease;
- menstrual cycle disorders and premenstrual symptoms eg headaches breast pain mood changes or bloating;
- high prolactin levels that have caused suppression of the sexual glands (leading to infertility) and/or abnormal milk production in men or women;
- excess growth hormone production resulting in enlarged facial features hands and feet (acromegaly);
- benign tumours in the pituitary gland that release prolactin (prolactinomas);
- benign breast disease or breast pain that occurs at certain times of the menstrual cycle;
Bromocriptine mesylate inhibits the secretion of the hormone prolactin from the pituitary gland. It mimics the action of dopamine, a chemical lacking in the brain of someone with Parkinson's disease. Bromocriptine is prescribed to treat a variety of medical conditions, including:
- pituitary gland tumors;
- parkinson's disease;
- menstrual problems such as the abnormal stoppage or absence of flow with or without excessive production of milk;
- infertility in some women;
- growth hormone overproduction leading to acromegaly a condition characterized by an abnormally large skull jaw hands and feet;
Some doctors prescribe Bromocriptine mesylate to treat cocaine addiction, the eye condition known as glaucoma, erection problems in certain men, restless leg syndrome, and a dangerous reaction to major tranquilizers called neuroleptic malignant syndrome.
Notify your doctor immediately if you develop a severe headache that does not let up or continues to get worse. It could be a warning of the possibility of other dangerous reactions, including seizure, stroke, or heart attack.
Bromocriptine mesylate should be taken with food. Take the first dose while lying down. You may faint or become dizzy due to lower blood pressure, especially following the first dose.
You may not feel the full effect of Bromocriptine mesylate for a few weeks. Do not stop taking Bromocriptine mesylate without first checking with your doctor.
Bromocriptine side effects that you should report to your health care professional or doctor as soon as possible:
- visual disturbance;
- uncontrolled body movement;
- shortness of breath;
- nasal congestion;
- loss of coordination;
- loss of appetite;
- inability to sleep;
- hallucinations (particularly in parkinson's patients);
- dry mouth;
- drop in blood pressure;
- nausea and vomiting;
- nasal congestion;
- leg cramps;
- hair loss;
- fibrous thickening of the lining that covers internal organs including the kidneys (retroperitoneal fibrosis) the heart (pericardial fibrosis) or the lungs (pulmonary fibrosis);
- dry mouth;
- drop in blood pressure when moving from lying or sitting to sitting or standing;
- difficulty performing voluntary movements resulting in jerky or involuntary movements or muscle twitches (dyskinesia);
- bleeding or ulceration of the stomach or intestine;
- abdominal cramps or discomfort;
Bromocriptine mesylate is available as 2.5-mg tablets and 5-mg capsules. Dosage information given is for 2.5-mg tablets.
Excess Prolactin Hormone
If you are being treated for conditions associated with excess prolactin, such as menstrual problems, with or without excessive milk production, infertility, or pituitary gland tumors, the usual starting dose is one-half to 1 tablet daily. Your doctor may add a tablet every 3 to 7 days, until the treatment works. The usual longer term dose is 5 to 7.5 mg per day and ranges from 2.5 to 15 mg per day.
Growth Hormone Overproduction
Treatment for the overproduction of growth hormones is usually one-half to 1 tablet with food at bedtime for 3 days. Your doctor may add one-half to 1 tablet every 3 to 7 days. The usual treatment dose varies from 20 to 30 mg per day. The dose should not exceed 100 mg per day. Your doctor will do a monthly re-evaluation.
Bromocriptine mesylate taken in combination with levodopa may provide additional treatment benefits if you are currently taking high doses of levodopa, are beginning to develop a tolerance to levodopa, or are experiencing "end of dose failure" on levodopa therapy.
The usual starting dose of Bromocriptine mesylate is one-half tablet twice a day with meals. Your dose will be monitored by your doctor at 2-week intervals. If necessary, your doctor may increase the dose every 14 to 28 days by 1 tablet per day.
The safety and effectiveness of Bromocriptine mesylate have not been established in children.