Cabergoline | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

cabergoline, Oral tablet

All Brands

  • Dostinex (Discontinued)
A discontinued drug is a drug that has been taken off the market due to safety issues, shortage of raw materials, or low market demand.
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Highlights for cabergoline

Oral tablet
1

Cabergoline is used to treat hyperprolactinemia (high levels of prolactin in your body).

2

This drug comes as a tablet that you take by mouth.

3

Cabergoline is only available as a generic drug.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Heart valve problems

This drug can cause heart problems. Your doctor may check your heart before and during your treatment with this drug. They may do this with an echocardiogram and other tests. If you have a heart valve problem, you shouldn’t take this drug. If you already have a heart issue, this drug may make your condition worse.

Scarring of organ tissues

This drug may cause fibrosis. This is a problem where organ tissue scars or hardens. It can happen in your lungs, around your heart, or behind your stomach. Symptoms include trouble breathing, a cough that won’t go away, chest pain, swelling in your legs and feet, and pain on your side between your back and stomach. Tell your doctor right away if you have these symptoms. If you have a history of fibrosis, you shouldn’t take this drug.

What is cabergoline?

Cabergoline is a prescription drug. It’s available as an oral tablet. This drug is only available as a generic drug.

Why it's used

Cabergoline is used to treat high levels of prolactin in your body. This happens when your pituitary gland makes extra prolactin. Your pituitary gland is a gland at the base of your brain that makes hormones. High prolactin levels may be caused by a hormone problem or by a tumor in your pituitary gland.

High prolactin levels can cause changes in a woman’s ovulation, menstrual cycle, and breast milk production. In men, high prolactin levels can affect reproduction and cause sexual issues. These include a decreased sex drive and not being able to get or keep an erection.

How it works

Cabergoline belongs to a class of drugs called dopamine agonists. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

Dopamine is a chemical your body makes. It prevents your body from releasing prolactin. Cabergoline works by binding to dopamine receptors. This also keeps your body from releasing prolactin. This helps decrease your prolactin levels.

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cabergoline Side Effects

Oral tablet

More common side effects

The more common side effects of cabergoline can include:

  • nausea

  • constipation

  • headache

  • dizziness

  • weakness or lack of energy

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following.

  • Scarring of tissues in organs. These include your heart, lungs, kidneys, and stomach area. Symptoms can include:

    • trouble breathing
    • shortness of breath
    • a cough that doesn’t go away
    • chest pain that doesn’t go away
    • stomach pain
    • swelling in your legs, ankles, or feet
  • Heart valve problems. Symptoms can include:

    • swelling in your arms, legs, hands, or feet
    • trouble breathing
    • changes in your heart rhythm
    • chest pain
    • cough
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

This drug may cause drowsiness.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 5

cabergoline May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Cabergoline can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Drugs you should not use with cabergoline

Don’t take these drugs with cabergoline. Doing so can cause dangerous effects in your body. These drugs work in the exact opposite way that cabergoline does. This means these drugs and cabergoline will not work well because their effects cancel each other out. Examples of these drugs include:

  • Antipsychotic drugs such as haloperidol, thiothixene, chlorpromazine, and prochlorperazine
    • These drugs work the opposite way of cabergoline. These drugs and cabergoline may keep each other from working well. This means that your antipsychotic drug and cabergoline may not work to treat your conditions.
  • Nausea drugs such as metoclopramide or promethazine
    • These drugs work the opposite way of cabergoline. These drugs and cabergoline may keep each other from working well. This means that your nausea drug and cabergoline may not work to treat your conditions.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Drug warnings
heart problem warning
People with heart problems

If you have uncontrolled high blood pressure or heart valve problems, you should not use this drug. It can make your condition worse. If you have high blood pressure, ask your doctor if your blood pressure is under control.

tissue scarring warning
People with history of tissue scarring

If you have a history of scarred tissue in your lungs, heart, kidney, or stomach area, you should not use this drug. It can make your condition worse.

high blood pressure from pregnancy
People with high blood pressure from pregnancy

If you’re currently pregnant and have high blood pressure from your pregnancy, you should not use this drug. It can make your condition worse.

liver problem warning
People with liver problems

You may not be able to process this drug well. This may increase the levels of the drug in your body and cause more side effects.

pregnancy warning
Pregnant women

Cabergoline is a category B pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has not shown a risk to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There aren’t enough studies done in humans to show if the drug poses a risk to the fetus.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Animal studies do not always predict the way humans would respond. Therefore, this drug should only be used in pregnancy if clearly needed.

breast feeding warning
Women who are breast-feeding

It isn’t known if this drug passes into breast milk. If it does, it may cause side effects in a child who is breastfed. This drug may also keep you from making breast milk.

Talk to your doctor if you breastfeed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breastfeeding or stop taking this medication.

senior warning
For seniors

The kidneys and liver of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

childrens warning
For children

This medication has not been studied in children. It should not be used in people younger than 18 years.

call the doctor
When to call the doctor

Call your doctor right away if you become pregnant while taking this drug.

allergy warning
Allergies

Cabergoline can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue

If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

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How to Take cabergoline (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

High prolactin levels

Generic: Cabergoline

Form: Oral tablet
Strength: 0.5 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • Typical starting dosage: 0.25 mg taken twice per week
  • Dosage increases: Your doctor may increase your dosage by 0.25 mg. This decision depends on your prolactin levels. Your doctor may increase your dosage once every 4 weeks.
  • Maximum dosage: 1 mg twice per week
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This medication has not been studied in children. It should not be used in people younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys and liver of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lowered dosage or a different treatment schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

Cabergoline comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all

The levels of prolactin in your blood will stay high. In women, high prolactin levels can change ovulation, menstrual cycles, and breast milk production. In men, high prolactin levels can affect reproduction and cause sexual issues. These include a decreased sex drive and not being able to get or keep an erection.

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you take too much

You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of an overdose of this drug can include:

  • nasal congestion
  • fainting
  • hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there)

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

What to do if you miss a dose

Take your dose as soon as you remember. If you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

You should have decreased levels of prolactin in your body. Your doctor will check your prolactin levels with a blood test.

Cabergoline is used for short-term treatment.

Important considerations for taking this drug
with or without food
You can take this drug with or without food
timing considerations
Take this drug at the time(s) recommended by your doctor
cut or crush
You can cut or crush the tablet
storage considerations
Store this drug carefully
See Details
medication is refillable
A prescription for this medication is refillable
See Details
travel considerations
Travel
See Details
clinical monitoring considerations
Clinical monitoring
See Details
not usually stocked
Not every pharmacy stocks this drug. When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead
prior authorization needed
Insurance
See Details

Store this drug carefully

  • Store cabergoline at room temperature. Keep it between 68°F and 77°F (20°C and 25°C).
  • Keep this drug in the container it came in.
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

A prescription for this medication is refillable

You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Clinical monitoring

You and your doctor should monitor certain health issues during your treatment. This can help make sure you stay safe while you take this drug. These issues include:

  • Heart function. Your doctor may do an echocardiogram (ECG) and other tests to check your heart before and during your treatment with this drug. This is to make sure it’s safe for you to take. If you develop problems with your heart valves, your doctor will stop your treatment with this drug.
  • Prolactin levels. Your doctor will do blood tests to measure the amount of prolactin in your body. This will help your doctor decide if you still need treatment with this drug.

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor may need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

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How Much Does cabergoline Cost?

Oral tablet

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Lowest price for cabergoline

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for cabergoline on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

Show Sources

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on May 6, 2016

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 other 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.
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