|Type of medicine||Dopamine-receptor agonist|
|Used for||Parkinson's disease|
Pergolide is used to treat Parkinson's disease, although other treatments are often preferred. Parkinson's disease results in there being less of a chemical called dopamine in your brain. This lack of dopamine causes symptoms such as shaking, muscle stiffness, and slow movement. Pergolide is a dopamine-receptor agonist which means that it acts on the same receptors in your brain as dopamine. In effect, it acts like a substitute for dopamine and this helps to ease your symptoms. It may be used alone, or in combination with other medicines for Parkinson's disease.
Before taking pergolide
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking pergolide it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have a heart condition or an unusual heart rhythm.
- If you have ever had a mental health problem that has caused you to be confused or to hallucinate (to see or hear things that are not real).
- If you have dyskinesia (muscle movements of your face or body which you can't prevent).
- If you have been told you have fibrotic reactions (scar tissue) affecting your heart, lungs or abdomen.
- If you have porphyria (a rare inherited blood disorder).
- If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine. It is particularly important that you tell your doctor if you have had a bad reaction in the past to a medicine related to ergot, such as bromocriptine or cabergoline.
How to take pergolide
- Before starting this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. The leaflet will give you more information about pergolide, and a full list of any side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
- The dose you are prescribed will depend upon your symptoms and whether you are also taking other medicines for Parkinson's. Your doctor or pharmacist will tell you how many tablets to take and when to take them. Your dose will also be on the label of your pack to remind you. Read the directions from your doctor carefully so that you know what dose is right for you, and take the tablets exactly as you have been told.
- If you are taking pergolide for the first time, your doctor will give you a small dose to begin with and then gradually increase this over the first few weeks. Slowly increasing your dose like this will help to reduce side-effects such as dizziness and low blood pressure, which can occur when you first start treatment.
- Try get into a habit of taking your doses at the same times of day each day, as this will help you to remember to take them. If you do forget to take a dose, take one as soon as you remember unless it is nearly time for your next dose. If it is almost time to take your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose when it is due. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor so your progress can be checked. Pergolide has occasionally caused heart and lung problems, particularly in people who take it over a long period of time. In order for your doctor to check for this, you will need to have echocardiography, lung function tests, blood tests, and an X-ray from time to time.
- Keep taking these tablets until your doctor tells you otherwise. Stopping suddenly can cause problems and your doctor will want you to reduce your dose gradually if this is necessary.
- Occasionally, people taking pergolide have fallen asleep suddenly with little or no warning of feeling tired beforehand. Until you know how you react, take extra care when you drive or operate machinery. If you do find yourself falling asleep suddenly, you should see your doctor as soon as possible and avoid driving or using tools and machines in the meantime.
- If you drink alcohol, ask your doctor for advice about pergolide and alcohol. Alcohol may increase any feelings of drowsiness you experience and may not be recommended for you.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with pergolide.
Can pergolide cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common pergolide side-effects||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling drowsy or sleepy||If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines|
|Feeling dizzy, especially when you stand or sit up||This usually passes as your body gets used to pergolide. In the meantime, getting up more slowly should help. If you begin to feel dizzy, lie down so that you do not faint, then sit for a few moments before standing|
|Feeling or being sick, indigestion, abdominal pain||Stick to simple or bland meals (avoid rich and spicy foods)|
|Runny nose, hearing or seeing things that aren't real, confusion, uncontrollable muscle movements, and double-vision||If any of these become troublesome, speak with your doctor|
Important: if you experience any of the following uncommon but serious symptoms, you must contact your doctor for advice straightaway:
- Feeling short of breath or any other difficulties with breathing, a persistent cough, chest pain, abdominal pain or tenderness.
- Any changes in your behaviour such as an increased desire to gamble, binge eat, or an increased sex drive.
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store pergolide
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 63rd Edition (Mar 2012) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen||Peer Reviewer: Prof Cathy Jackson|
|Last Checked: 05/09/2012||Document ID: 3554 Version: 24||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.