What is bromocriptine?

Bromocriptine is in a group of drugs called dopamine receptor agonists. It has some of the same effects as a chemical called dopamine, which occurs naturally in your body. Low levels of dopamine in the brain are associated with Parkinson’s disease.

Bromocriptine also reduces your levels of prolactin, a hormone that is released from the pituitary gland.

Bromocriptine is used to treat certain conditions caused by a hormone imbalance in which there is too much prolactin in the blood (also called hyperprolactinemia). Signs of too much prolactin in the body include lack of sexual development in adolescents. Women may have missed menstrual periods, loss of interest in sex, hot flashes, infertility, or unexpected breast milk production and leakage from the nipples. Men may have enlarged breasts, decreased libido, decreased facial or body hair, and loss of muscle.

Bromocriptine is also used to treat these disorders when they are caused by brain tumors that can produce prolactin.

Bromocriptine is sometimes used together with surgery or radiation in treating acromegaly, a condition caused by a pituitary gland tumor that produces too much growth hormone.

Bromocriptine is also used to treat symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, such as stiffness, tremors, muscle spasms, and poor muscle control.

Bromocriptine may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.


Some people taking bromocriptine have fallen asleep during normal daytime activities such as working, talking, eating, or driving. You may fall asleep suddenly, even after feeling alert. Tell your doctor if you have any problems with daytime sleepiness or drowsiness. If you are unsure of how this medicine will affect you, be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to bromocriptine, or if you have:

  • uncontrolled high blood pressure (hypertension);
  • hypertension caused by pregnancy, including eclampsia and preeclampsia; or
  • if you are allergic to any type of ergot medicine such as ergotamine (Ergomar), dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45, Migranal Nasal Spray), ergonovine (Ergotrate), or methylergonovine (Methergine).

Bromocriptine may contain lactose. Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you have a hereditary form of galactose intolerance, severe lactase deficiency, or glucose-galactose malabsorption.

If you have certain conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use this medication. Before you take bromocriptine, tell your doctor if you have:

  • heart disease or a history of heart attack,
  • high blood pressure;
  • liver disease;
  • kidney disease;
  • a stomach ulcer or history of stomach or intestinal bleeding; or
  • a history of mental illness or psychosis.

Tell your doctor if you are planning to become pregnant while taking bromocriptine.

Some women take bromocriptine in order to normalize menstrual periods and increase their chances of becoming pregnant. Tell your doctor as soon as you become pregnant. You will most likely need to stop taking the medication at that time.

Bromocriptine is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. However, a brain tumor can expand during pregnancy. Hypertension (high blood pressure) can also occur during pregnancy and bromocriptine could be dangerous if taken by a pregnant woman with high blood pressure.

If you are not taking this medication to help you get pregnant, use a non-hormone method of birth control (such as a condom, diaphragm, spermicide) to prevent pregnancy while taking bromocriptine. Your doctor may also want you to have a pregnancy test every 4 weeks during treatment.

You may not be able to take bromocriptine just after having a baby if you have a history of severe heart disease or coronary artery disease. Talk with your doctor about your specific situation.

Bromocriptine lowers the hormone needed to produce breast milk. Do not take this medication if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Bromocriptine can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

Avoid drinking alcohol, which can increase some of the side effects of pramipexole.

Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy. Get up slowly and steady yourself to prevent a fall.

Back to top


Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

Overdose symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, constipation, sweating, pale skin, dizziness, drowsiness, yawning, confusion, hallucinations, and fainting.

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to take the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

Back to top

Side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

If you are taking bromocriptine to treat high prolactin levels caused by a tumor, notify your doctor if you experience persistent, watery, nasal discharge.

Stop using bromocriptine and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • extreme drowsiness, falling asleep suddenly, even after feeling alert;
  • confusion, hallucinations;
  • feeling like you might pass out;
  • dangerously high blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, buzzing in your ears, anxiety, confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath, uneven heartbeats, seizure);
  • sudden headache, numbness or weakness, or problems with vision;
  • pain when you breathe, fast heart rate, feeling short of breath (especially when lying down);
  • pain in your chest, on your left side, or behind your breastbone;
  • back pain, swelling in your ankles or feet, urinating less than usual or not at all;
  • runny nose, unusual taste in your mouth;
  • black, bloody, or tarry stools; or
  • coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • mild headache, dizzziness, tired feeling, mild drowsiness;
  • nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, loss of appetite;
  • diarrhea, constipation;
  • cold feeling or numbness in your fingers; or
  • dry mouth, stuffy nose.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Back to top


Many drugs can interact with bromocriptine. Below is just a partial list. Tell your doctor if you are using:

  • metoclopramide (Reglan);
  • an antidepressant;
  • an antibiotic;
  • anti-malaria drugs;
  • asthma or allergy medication;
  • cancer medicine;
  • cholesterol-lowering drugs such as simvastatin (Zocor);
  • diabetes medication taken by mouth;
  • ergot medicine such as ergotamine (Ergomar), dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45, Migranal Nasal Spray), ergonovine (Ergotrate), or methylergonovine (Methergine);
  • heart or blood pressure medications;
  • heart rhythm medication;
  • HIV or AIDS medications;
  • medicines to treat psychiatric disorders;
  • medicines used to prevent organ transplant rejection;
  • a sedative or narcotic medication; or
  • seizure medications.

This list is not complete and there are many other medicines that can interact with bromocriptine. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor. Keep a list of all the medicines you use and show this list to any doctor or other healthcare provider who treats you.

Other Names

Parlodel and bromocriptine

Back to top


Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2004 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version 2.05. Revision date 8/23/04

Last updated: