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Cabergoline

Cabergoline tablets are a type of medication used to mimic the action of dopamine and reduce the amount of prolactin in the body. It may be used to treat problems related to fertility, breast milk or tumours created due to there being too much prolactin in the body. It may be prescribed to either men or women to tackle hormonal disturbances linked to the amount of prolactin being produced.

Last PIL Review Date: 22/01/2020

See Cabaser/Cabergoline Patient Information Leaflet

This medicine is not available to request via our online service. If you are still having trouble with your symptoms please visit the NHS website for services in your area.


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Dr. Diana Gall GMC No. 7685129

Dr Diana Gall graduated from medical school in 2005 and has since undertaken further intensive training in many different areas of medicine. Dr Diana has reached consultant level and has practiced medicine all over Europe.

Shamir Patel GPHC No. 2049338

Shamir is a well-respected pharmacist with extensive experience running online pharmacies in the UK.

What is Cabergoline?

Cabergoline is a tablet medication which can be taken to treat various issues related to prolactin produced in the body. Most of the problems which Cabergoline can treat are fertility related and apply to women exclusively. However, this medication may be used by either a man or woman if treating tumours of the pituitary gland. Men may also use this medication to deal with enlarged breasts or decreased sexual drive.

Other issues which Cabergoline may be used for can include stopping breast milk production (lactation) soon after childbirth, a lack of periods or infrequent and very light menstruation. Cabergoline may be sold under the brand name Dostinex.

How does Cabergoline work?

Hormonal disturbances can result in an abnormally high level of prolactin being produced in the body, creating various potential symptoms. Cabergoline is an ergot medication which mimics the action of dopamine to block the release of prolactin from the pituitary gland.

Because Prolactin is the hormone that stimulates the breast to produce milk, Cabergoline may be used by women when they want to stop breast-feeding their baby or if they’re experiencing secretion of milk from their breast without breast-feeding occurring.

How to take Cabergoline

The exact dosage instructions for Cabergoline tablets will depend on what exactly you want to use them for. To prevent milk production (lactation) after giving birth, take two 0.5mg tablets on the first day after delivery. To prevent lactation sometime after you have started to breast-feed, you should take 0.25mg (half a 0.5mg tablet) every 12 hours for two days.

If you want to use Cabergoline to reduce prolactin levels and suppress other conditions, then you should initially take one 0.5mg tablet in two doses spread out over a week (so for instance, you could take half the tablet on Monday and the other half of the tablet on Thursday). On later weeks your dosage will be increased up to a maximum of 4.5mg per week until you have responded fully to treatment. Maximum dosage should not exceed 3mg within a single day.

It’s recommended that you take this medication with or after food to help reduce feelings of nausea or vomiting. It is also suggested that when you first start taking this medication that you slowly change position when trying to sit, stand or lie down. This is because this medicine can cause a drop in blood pressure that could make you feel dizzy when you move from a position. It’s best to avoid alcohol or any other medicines that can cause drowsiness while using Cabergoline.

While using Cabergoline, your doctor may need to monitor your blood pressure, particularly during the first few days of treatment. Female patients may also need to have a gynaecological assessment carried out on the cells of the cervix or womb lining.

Cabergoline side effects

Cabergoline can cause side effects, although not all patients experience them. Certain side effects are very common among people who take this medication. The following can affect more than 1 in 10 patients:

  • Drowsiness and fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Vertigo
  • Stomach pain and indigestion
  • Inflamed stomach lining
  • Lack of bodily strength

Other potential side effects are almost as common and may affect up to 1 in to patients:

  • Constipation
  • Blurred vision
  • Low blood pressure following childbirth
  • Breast pain
  • Depression
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Excessive daytime drowsiness/sleepiness
  • Vomiting
  • Low blood pressure
  • Hot flushes

Other side effects are possible but also a rarity. However, some of these rare side effects can be very serious. Tell your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Disorders affecting the heart valve or parts related to it
  • A widespread itchy rash, fainting, difficulty breathing or unexplained swelling around the body or tongue. These could be signs of an allergic reaction
  • Abnormal or unusual thoughts

To expand further on the ‘abnormal or unusual thoughts’, this medication can cause some patients to experience the irresistible urge to perform actions that could be harmful to themselves and others. These impulsive behaviours can include the following:

  • A strong desire to gamble excessively even if there are serious personal or family consequences
  • Aggression and altered or increased sexual interest and behaviour which can cause concern for you and others
  • Uncontrollable excessive shopping or spending
  • Binge eating or compulsive eating

Tell your doctor as soon as possible if you experience any of these behaviours while taking Cabergoline and they’ll advise on ways to manage and reduce such symptoms.

Is it safe to take Cabergoline?

It’s important to be sure that you have no conditions or other health-related circumstances which could make it unsafe to take Cabergoline. You should avoid using this medication if any of the following applies to you:

  • You are under the age of 16
  • You have a severe liver disease
  • You have high blood pressure in pregnancy associated with swelling and protein in the urine (toxaemia of pregnancy)
  • You are currently pregnant or breast-feeding
  • You have a history of mental illness associated with child-birth or you are being treated with anti-psychotics at the moment
  • You require long-term treatment but you have stiff and inflamed heart valves
  • You have had fibrotic reactions affecting your abdomen, heart or lungs

Even if none of these factors apply to you, it is still important to tell your doctor of any conditions you do have, as some may need to be factored into your treatment. You should also tell your doctor or pharmacist about any other medications you are currently taking (both prescribed or non-prescribed).

The following medicines in particular or worth mentioning as they are known to either reduce or increase the effectiveness of Cabergoline:

  • Antibiotics (such as erythromycin)
  • Medicines which treat mental illness (such as chlorpromazine or haloperidol)
  • Medicines for nausea and vomiting (such as domperidone and metoclopramide)
  • Medicines for severe migraine headaches (such as pergolide and ergotamine)
  • Medicines which treat Parkinson’s disease

What if I forget to take Cabergoline?

If you forget a dose of this medication, then take the next one due as normal. Let your doctor know if you are having trouble remembering to take Cabergoline. Never take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What if I take too much Cabergoline?

If you accidentally take a stronger dose of this medicine than you were meant to, contact your doctor or visit your nearest hospital emergency department immediately. You may experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, gastric complaints or confusion and hallucinations if you overdose on Cabergoline.

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