Highlights for bromocriptine

  1. Bromocriptine oral tablet is only available as a generic drug. It doesn’t have a brand-name version.
  2. Bromocriptine comes in two forms: an oral tablet and an oral capsule.
  3. Bromocriptine oral tablet is used to treat symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. It’s also used to treat symptoms of other conditions that are caused by very high levels of certain hormones.

Important warnings

  • Drowsiness warning: While taking bromocriptine, you may have sudden drowsiness, or fall asleep without warning. Avoid driving or using machinery until you know how this drug affects you.
  • Low blood pressure warning: When first starting bromocriptine, you may have episodes of low blood pressure that can cause dizziness or fainting. These episodes occur more often when you stand after sitting or lying down. This is called orthostatic hypotension. To help prevent this, move slowly when changing positions.
  • Heart attack, stroke, or seizure warning: In some cases, bromocriptine can cause heart attack, stroke, or seizures. The risk may be higher in women who have just given birth and take this drug to reduce the amount of milk they produce. It may also be higher in people with uncontrolled high blood pressure.
  • Compulsive behaviors warning: Bromocriptine may cause intense urges to gamble, spend money, or binge eat. It may also cause increased sexual urges or other intense urges. You may not be able to control these urges. Tell your doctor right away if you have any of these urges.

What is bromocriptine?

Bromocriptine is a prescription drug. It comes in the form of a tablet and a capsule you take by mouth.

Bromocriptine oral tablet is only available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less. Generic drugs usually cost less than brand-name versions.

Bromocriptine is often used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other medications. It can also be used in combination with surgery or radiation to treat certain conditions.

Why it's used

Bromocriptine oral tablet is used to treat several conditions. It helps reduce symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, but it doesn’t cure it. It also treats some conditions caused by high levels of certain hormones in the body, including prolactin and growth hormone. Bromocriptine reduces these hormone levels, which in turn treats the conditions.

How it works

Bromocriptine belongs to a class of drugs called ergot derivatives. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

Bromocriptine works in different ways, depending on the condition it’s being used to treat:

  • Bromocriptine stimulates dopamine receptors in the brain. This helps to lessen symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and other parkinsonism disorders.
  • Bromocriptine reduces the amount of the hormone prolactin that’s produced by the body. Lowering the levels of this hormone helps treat galactorrhea (excessive lactation or milk production) or infertility. It also helps treat hypogonadism (a condition where the body doesn’t produce enough testosterone).
  • Bromocriptine lowers levels of growth hormone in the body. This helps treat acromegaly, a condition that causes excessive growth of the hands, feet, and face.

Bromocriptine side effects

Bromocriptine oral tablet can cause dizziness and drowsiness during the first few hours after you take it. This happens more often when you first start treatment with the drug. Avoid driving or using heavy machinery if you have extreme drowsiness while taking this drug.

Bromocriptine can also cause other side effects.

More common side effects

The more common side effects that can occur with use of bromocriptine include:

  • nausea
  • headache
  • stomach upset
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • feeling faint
  • fainting
  • suddenly falling asleep (most common in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease)

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 911 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:

  • Heart attack. Symptoms can include:
    • chest pain
    • shortness of breath
    • discomfort in your upper body
  • Stroke. Symptoms can include:
    • weakness in one part or side of your body
    • slurred speech
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (scarring in the lungs). Symptoms can include:
    • trouble breathing
    • cough
    • tiredness
    • unexplained weight loss
    • aching muscles or joints
    • changes in the shape of the fingers or toes

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.

Bromocriptine may interact with other medications

Bromocriptine oral tablet 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.

Examples of drugs that can cause interactions with bromocriptine are listed below.

Antibiotics

When used with bromocriptine, certain antibiotics can increase the amount of bromocriptine in your body. This raises your risk of side effects from bromocriptine. Examples of these drugs include:

  • erythromycin
  • clarithromycin
  • azithromycin

HIV drugs

When used with bromocriptine, certain drugs used to treat HIV called protease inhibitors can increase the amount of bromocriptine in your body. This raises your risk of side effects from bromocriptine. Examples of protease inhibitors include:

  • ritonavir
  • lopinavir
  • saquinavir

Psychiatric drugs

When used with bromocriptine, certain drugs used to treat psychiatric disorders can make bromocriptine less effective. This means it may not work well to treat your condition. Examples of these psychiatric drugs include:

  • haloperidol
  • pimozide

Other drugs

Metoclopramide is used to treat several conditions, including gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Using this drug with bromocriptine can make bromocriptine less effective. This means it may not work well to treat your condition.

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.

Bromocriptine warnings

This drug comes with several warnings.

Allergy warning

Bromocriptine can cause an allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • skin rash
  • swelling of the tongue or throat

If you develop these symptoms, call 911 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).

Alcohol interaction warning

Bromocriptine can cause drowsiness or dizziness. The use of drinks that contain alcohol while taking this drug can make these symptoms worse.

Warnings for people with certain health conditions

For people with liver disease: It’s not known how safe or effective bromocriptine is for people with liver disease. Talk with your doctor about whether taking this drug is safe for you.

For people with kidney disease: It’s not known how safe or effective bromocriptine is for people with kidney disease. Talk with your doctor about whether taking this drug is safe for you.

For people with a history of psychosis: Bromocriptine can worsen psychotic conditions. Talk with your doctor about whether this drug is safe for you.

For people with a history of cardiovascular disease: Bromocriptine can worsen this condition. Talk with your doctor about whether this drug is safe for you.

For people with certain types of sugar intolerance: You shouldn’t take bromocriptine if you have certain types of sugar intolerance. These include galactose intolerance, severe lactase deficiency, or problems with absorbing certain types of sugars.

Warnings for other groups

For pregnant women: Bromocriptine is a category B pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals hasn’t 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 planning to become pregnant. Animal studies don’t always predict the way humans would respond. Therefore, this drug should only be used in pregnancy if clearly needed.

For women who are breastfeeding: Bromocriptine may pass into breast milk and may cause side effects in a child who is breastfed. Bromocriptine shouldn’t be used by mothers who are breastfeeding their child.

For children: The safety and effectiveness of bromocriptine haven’t been established to treat most conditions in children younger than 8 years.

How to take bromocriptine

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

Drug form and strength

Generic: Bromocriptine

  • Form: oral tablet
  • Strength: 2.5 mg

Dosage for hyperprolactinemia-associated disorders

Adult dosage (ages 16 years and older)

  • Typical starting dosage: One-half to 1 tablet (1.25–2.5 mg) once per day.
  • Increasing dosage: Your doctor may increase your dosage by 1 tablet every 2–7 days until your condition is controlled.
  • Typical daily dosage: 2.5–15 mg once per day.

Child dosage (ages 11–15 years)

Prolactin-secreting pituitary tumor is the only condition that bromocriptine has been studied to treat in children younger than 16 years. Clinical trials in adults support the use of bromocriptine in children ages 11–15 years to treat this condition.

For the treatment of prolactin-secreting pituitary tumor:

  • Typical starting dosage: One-half to 1 tablet (1.25–2.5 mg) once per day.
  • Increasing dosage: Your doctor may increase your child’s dosage as needed.
  • Typical daily dosage: 2.5–10 mg once per day.

Child dosage (ages 0–10 years)

It hasn’t been confirmed that bromocriptine is safe and effective for people younger than 11 years in the treatment of hyperprolactinemia-associated disorders.

Dosage for acromegaly

Adult dosage (ages 16 years and older)

  • Typical starting dosage: One-half to 1 tablet (1.25–2.5 mg) once per day at bedtime for the first 3 days.
  • Increasing dosage: Your doctor may increase your dosage as needed every 3–7 days.
  • Typical daily dosage: 20–30 mg once per day.
  • Maximum daily dosage: 100 mg once per day.

Child dosage (ages 0–15 years)

It hasn’t been confirmed that bromocriptine is safe and effective for people younger than 16 years in the treatment of acromegaly.

Dosage for Parkinson's disease

Adult dosage (ages 16 years and older)

  • Typical starting dosage: One-half tablet twice daily with meals.
  • Increasing dosage: Your doctor may increase your dosage by 1 tablet every 14–28 days as needed.
  • Maximum daily dosage: 100 mg once per day.

Child dosage (ages 0–15 years)

It hasn’t been confirmed that bromocriptine is safe and effective for people younger than 16 years in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

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 speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.

Take as directed

Bromocriptine oral tablet is used for short-term or long-term treatment. It comes with risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all: The condition you’re taking it for may not improve, and may get worse.

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:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • constipation
  • sweating
  • dizziness
  • low blood pressure (with symptoms such as confusion, dizziness, or blurry vision)
  • extreme tiredness
  • unusual yawning
  • hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t 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 911 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. But 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: The symptoms of your condition should improve.

Important considerations for taking bromocriptine

Keep these considerations in mind if your doctor prescribes bromocriptine for you.

General

  • Bromocriptine should be taken with food.
  • Take this drug at the time(s) recommended by your doctor. The time of day when you take bromocriptine depends on the reason you’re taking it. Your doctor or pharmacist will explain when to take this drug.
  • You can cut or crush the tablet.

Refills

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 harm your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled container 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.

Availability

Not every pharmacy stocks this drug. When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead to make sure your pharmacy carries it.

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.

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.