Reviewed on 8/11/2021

What Is Bromocriptine and How Does It Work?

Bromocriptine is used to treat symptoms of Parkinson's disease or involuntary movements due to the side effects of certain psychiatric drugs (antipsychotics such as chlorpromazine/haloperidol). Bromocriptine belongs to a class of medication called anticholinergics that work by blocking a certain natural substance (acetylcholine). This helps decrease muscle stiffness, sweating, and the production of saliva, and helps improve walking ability in people with Parkinson's disease.

Anticholinergics such as bromocriptine can stop severe muscle spasms of the back, neck, and eyes that are sometimes caused by psychiatric drugs. It can also decrease other side effects such as muscle stiffness/rigidity (extrapyramidal signs-EPS). It is not helpful in treating movement problems caused by tardive dyskinesia and may worsen them. Bromocriptine should not be used in children younger than 3 years.

Bromocriptine is available under the following different brand names: Cogentin.

Dosages of Bromocriptine

Adult and Pediatric Dosage Forms and Strengths


  • 0.5mg
  • 1mg
  • 2mg

Injectable solution

  • 1 mg/MmL

Dosage Considerations – Should be Given as Follows:



  • Postencephalitic parkinsonism: 1-2 mg/day (range, 0.5-6 mg/day) orally/intravenously/intramuscularly at bedtime or divided every 6-12 hours; may consider lower dose or 0.5 mg at bedtime in highly sensitive patients; not to exceed 6 mg/day
  • Idiopathic parkinsonism: 0.5-1 mg at bedtime initially; titrate dose in 0.5-mg increments every 5-6 days (range 0.5-6 mg daily; some patients may need 4-6 mg/day); not to exceed 6 mg/day


  • 0.5 mg orally once daily or every 12 hours; titrate dose in 0.5-mg increments every 5-6 days; not to exceed 4 mg/day

Drug-Induced Extrapyramidal Disorders

  • Adult: 1-2 mg intravenously/intramuscularly/orally every 8-12 hours; reevaluate after 1-2 weeks
  • Acute dystonia: 1-2 mg intravenously (IV), then 1-2 mg orally once or twice daily for 7-28 days to prevent recurrence
  • Children over 3 years: 0.02-0.05 mg/kg intravenously/intramuscularly/orally once daily or every 12 hours
  • Children under 3 years: Not recommended

Dosing considerations, geriatric


Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease, and Aging Brains See Slideshow

What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Bromocriptine?

Common side effects of bromocriptine include:

Serious side effects of bromocriptine include:

  • Vision problems
  • Constant runny nose
  • Chest pain
  • Pain when you breathe
  • Fast heart rate
  • Rapid breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Back pain
  • Swelling in your ankles or feet
  • Urinating less than usual or not at a
  • ll
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Feeling like you might pass out
  • Low blood sugar (headache, hunger, weakness, sweating, tremors, irritability, trouble concentrating)
  • Muscle movements you cannot control
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Bloody or tarry stools
  • Coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
  • Dangerously high blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, buzzing in your ears, anxiety, confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath, uneven heartbeats, seizures)

This document does not contain all possible side effects and others may occur. Check with your physician for additional information about side effects.

What Other Drugs Interact with Bromocriptine?

If your doctor has directed you to use this medication, your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor, health care provider or pharmacist first.

Severe interactions of bromocriptine include:

Bromocriptine has serious interactions with at least 33 different drugs.

Bromocriptine has moderate interactions with at least 52 different drugs.

Mild interactions of bromocriptine include:

  • ruxolitinib

This information does not contain all possible interactions or adverse effects. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share this information with your doctor and pharmacist. Check with your health care professional or doctor for additional medical advice, or if you have health questions, concerns or for more information about this medicine.


Parkinson's disease is only seen in people of advanced age. See Answer

What Are Warnings and Precautions for Bromocriptine?


This medication contains bromocriptine. Do not take Cycloset or Parlodel if you are allergic to bromocriptine or any ingredients contained in this drug.

Keep out of reach of children. In case of overdose, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center immediately.


Effects of Drug Abuse

  • No information available

Short-Term Effects

  • May impair ability to drive/operate heavy machinery.
  • Postmarketing reports suggest that patients treated with anti-Parkinson medications can experience intense urges to gamble, increased sexual urges, intense urges to spend money uncontrollably, and other intense urges.
  • See "What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Bromocriptine?"

Long-Term Effects

  • See "What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Bromocriptine?"


  • Monitor blood pressure: risk of low blood pressure and dizziness upon standing (orthostatic hypotension).
  • Concurrency with other hypotensive drugs concomitantly.
  • Hepatic/renal impairment.
  • In patients undergoing treatment for macroadenoma-related hyperprolactinemia or who have undergone trans-sphenoidal surgery, a persistent watery nasal discharge may be sign of cerebrospinal fluid runny nose (CSF rhinorrhea).
  • Discontinuation of treatment in patients with macroadenomas associated with rapid regrowth of tumor and increased prolactin serum levels.
  • May impair ability to drive/operate heavy machinery.
  • History of heart attack (myocardial infarction [MI]) and a residual atrial, nodal or ventricular arrhythmia, especially with Parkinson's disease.
  • Use for prevention of postpartum lactation no longer recommended.
  • Postmarketing reports suggest that patients treated with anti-Parkinson medications can experience intense urges to gamble, increased sexual urges, intense urges to spend money uncontrollably, and other intense urges.
  • Epidemiological studies have shown that patients with Parkinson's disease have a higher risk (2 to 6-fold higher) of developing melanoma than the general population (unsure if related to the disease or drug therapy).
  • Avoid abrupt withdrawal (associated with neuroleptic malignant syndrome-like symptoms); discontinue gradually.
  • Conclusive evidence of macrovascular risk reduction with bromocriptine or other antidiabetic agents not demonstrated.
  • Fibrotic valve thickening (e.g., aortic, mitral, tricuspid), possibly due to excess serotonin activity, usually associated with long-term, chronic use of ergot alkaloids and derivatives reported.
  • Visual or auditory hallucinations reported with administered alone or concomitantly.
  • Cases of pleural and pericardial effusions, as well as pleural, pulmonary, and/or retroperitoneal fibrosis and constrictive pericarditis reported with prolonged high-dose daily use; discontinue therapy if fibrotic changes suspected.
  • In the treatment of acromegaly, discontinuation recommended if tumor expansion occurs during therapy.
  • Use with caution in patients with cardiovascular disease, dementia, hepatic impairment, and peptic ulcer disease.
  • Parlodel: Avoid use in patients with galactose intolerance/malabsorption, severe lactase deficiency, or glucose/galactose malabsorption.
  • In patients with severe psychotic disorders, treatment with a dopamine receptor agonist such as bromocriptine may exacerbate the disorder or may diminish the effectiveness of drugs used to treat the disorder; use in patients with severe psychotic disorders not recommended.
  • Dopamine receptor antagonists, including neuroleptic agents that have dopamine D2 receptor antagonist properties (e.g., clozapine, olanzapine, ziprasidone), may reduce effectiveness of bromocriptine and bromocriptine may reduce effectiveness of these agents; bromocriptine has not been studied in patients taking neuroleptic drugs; concomitant use with dopamine receptor antagonists, including neuroleptic drugs, is not recommended.
  • Effectiveness and safety are unknown in patients already taking dopamine receptor agonists for other indications; concomitant use not recommended.

Pregnancy and Lactation

  • Bromocriptine may be acceptable for use during pregnancy. Either animal studies show no risk but human studies are not available or animal studies showed minor risks and human studies were done and showed no risk.
  • Bromocriptine should not be used during lactation.
Medscape. Bromocriptine.
RxList. Parlodel Side Effects Center.

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