|Type of medicine||Dopamine-receptor agonist|
|Used for||Parkinson's disease
Restless legs syndrome
Adartrel®; Requip®; Requip® XL; Spiroco® XL; Ralnea® XL
|Available as||Tablets and prolonged-release tablets|
Ropinirole is used to treat Parkinson's disease. 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. Ropinirole 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 to treat Parkinson's disease.
Ropinirole is also used to treat restless legs syndrome (RLS). This is an uncomfortable feeling in your legs, which gives you the urge to move your legs to get relief. Ropinirole can help when these symptoms are severe enough to cause distress.
Before taking ropinirole
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 ropinirole 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 a blood vessel disorder.
- If you have problems with your liver or kidneys.
- If you have ever had any mental health problems.
- 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.
How to take ropinirole
- Before starting this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. The leaflet will give you more information about the brand of ropinirole you have been given, and a full list of any side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
- The dose you have been prescribed will depend upon the reason you are taking ropinirole, and which type of tablet you have been given. 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 ropinirole 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.
- You can take the tablets before or after meals. If you feel sick after taking a dose, this can be prevented by taking ropinirole after a light meal or snack.
- If you have been given a prolonged-release tablet of ropinirole (these have 'XL' after the brand name), you should swallow these tablets whole. You can take them with a drink of water to help you swallow, but do not crush or break them. This is because they have been specially made to release the medicine they contain slowly over the day.
- 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.
- If you are taking Adartrel® for restless legs syndrome, the best time to take it is just before you go to bed, but you can take it up to three hours before bedtime if you prefer.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor so your progress can be monitored. Ropinirole may cause your blood pressure to fall (particularly in the early days of your treatment) and your doctor will want to check for this.
- As the tablets start to work and your movements become easier, be careful not to overdo any physical activities. Increase the exercise you do gradually to allow your body to adjust to the change in balance and co-ordination.
- 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. Also, if for any reason you do not take your tablets for more than a day or so, you should let your doctor know about this, as your dose may need adjusting.
- Occasionally, people taking ropinirole 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 ropinirole and alcohol. Alcohol may increase any feelings of drowsiness you experience and may not be recommended for you.
- Smoking may interfere with the way these tablets work. If you start smoking or give up smoking while you are taking ropinirole, your dose may need to be adjusted, so you should let your doctor know about this.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with ropinirole.
Can ropinirole 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 ropinirole side-effects - these affect around 1 in 10 people who take this medicine||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 or faint, especially when you stand or sit up||This usually passes as your body gets used to ropinirole. 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). Try taking your doses after meals|
|Constipation||Eat a well-balanced diet containing plenty of fibre and drink several glasses of water every day|
|Swollen legs and ankles, feeling nervous or confused, uncontrollable muscle movements, and hearing or seeing things that aren't real||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:
- Falling asleep suddenly without feeling tired beforehand.
- 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 ropinirole
- 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
- Manufacturer's PIL, Requip®; GlaxoSmithKline UK, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated May 2011.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Adartrel® 0.25, 0.5, and 2.0 mg film-coated Tablets; GlaxoSmithKline UK, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated November 2010.
- Manufacturer's PIL, ReQuip® XL prolonged-release tablets; GlaxoSmithKline UK, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated October 2011.
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen||Peer Reviewer: Dr Adrian Bonsall|
|Last Checked: 05/09/2012||Document ID: 3708 Version: 23||© 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.