medicationsGeneric Name: Bromocriptine

General Drug Information:
A doctor may prescribe Bromocriptine to help women who have an ovulation problem caused by a benign tumor in the pituitary gland, located in the brain just behind the nose. Doctors refer to this condition as pituitary adenoma. Although the tumor itself cannot spread to other tissue, it can cause the pituitary gland to excrete too much prolactin. Excessive prolactin makes a woman stop ovulating. Bromocriptine works by inhibiting the production of prolactin.

Bromocriptine can help with other conditions, such as Parkinson's disease and the spontaneous flow of milk from the breasts, a condition doctors call galactorrhea. In cases of amenorrhea and galactorrhea, Bromocriptine suppresses galactorrhea completely or almost completely, and that it reinitiates normal menstrual cycles in about 75 percent of cases. Usually patients will see their menstrual cycles return 6 - 8 weeks before galactorrhea stops, although this varies between patients.

Bromocriptine has no effect on gland other than the pituitary gland, except in people with the rare hormonal imbalance known as acromegaly.

Administration and Dosage:
Bromocriptine is sold as a capsule under the brand name Parlodel and as a tablet under the brand name Cycloset, both to be taken by mouth once a day with food. Consumers should take Bromocriptine at the approximately the same time each day.

The physician will usually prescribe a low dose at the beginning of treatment and gradually increase Bromocriptine dosage. Patient should never discontinue Bromocriptine abruptly, as sudden discontinuation may worsen their condition.

Bromocriptine is not appropriate for everyone. Individuals who are allergic to ergot alkaloids should not use Bromocriptine. Those with uncontrolled high blood pressure or certain rare hereditary conditions should not use Bromocriptine. Women who are breastfeeding should not take this product. Women who use Bromocriptine to lower prolactin levels in hopes of becoming pregnant should stop using this product as soon as they become pregnant.

Side Effects:
All medications, including Bromocriptine, can cause adverse effects. Most side effects are not serious and fade with continued use. The National Library of Medicine lists the following as possible non-serious side effects of Bromocriptine:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Stomach Cramps
  • Heartburn
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Headache
  • Weakness
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness
  • Drowsiness
  • Difficulty Falling Asleep or Staying Asleep
  • Depression

Some side effects can be serious. Consumers contact the prescribing physician immediately if they experience the following serious side effects:

  • Fainting
  • Watery Discharge from the Nose
  • Numbness, Tingling, or Pain in Your Fingers Especially in Cold Weather
  • Black and Tarry Stools
  • Bloody Vomit
  • Vomiting Material that Looks Like Coffee Grounds
  • Swelling of the Feet, Ankles, or Lower Legs
  • Seizures
  • Severe Headache
  • Blurred or Impaired Vision
  • Slow or Difficult Speech
  • Weakness or Numbness of an Arm or Leg
  • Chest Pain
  • Pain in the Arms, Back, Neck or Jaw
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations

Store Bromocriptine in the container it came in. Keep this medication at room temperature and away from light and excess heat and moisture. Keep Bromocriptine and all medications out of the reach of children and pets. Dispose of outdated Bromocriptine or throw away when no longer needed; consult with a doctor or pharmacist to learn how to dispose of Bromocriptine according to local ordinances.

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