How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Cabergoline belongs to a class of medications known as prolactin inhibitors. Prolactin inhibitors such as cabergoline are used to treat different types of medical problems that occur when too much prolactin, a hormone, is produced by the pituitary gland in the brain. An excess production of prolactin can result in menstrual problems in women and fertility problems in men and women.
Cabergoline stops the brain from making and releasing prolactin from the pituitary gland. Cabergoline is also used to prevent the onset of normal lactation (milk production) in cases where there is a medical need to prevent lactation.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Each white-to-off-white, capsule-shaped tablet, with "C|5" on one side and two symbols on the other side, contains cabergoline 0.5 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: lactose and leucine.
How should I use this medication?
When used to prevent the onset of normal lactation, the dose is 1 mg of cabergoline given as a single dose on the first day after having a baby.
For prolactin disorders, the recommended starting dose of cabergoline for adults is 0.5 mg per week, given in 1 or 2 doses per week (for 2 doses, the tablet is cut in half). The dose may be increased by 0.5 mg per week until a maximum of 2 mg per week is reached. The dose should not be increased more often than every 4 weeks.
The eventual dose of the medication will depend on the results of lab tests that measure the amount of prolactin in your blood. After the tests have been in the normal range for at least 6 months, the doctor may decide to stop the medication and continue to monitor the levels of prolactin in the blood.
This medication should be taken with food.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, take it as soon you remember if it is within 1 or 2 days of when you were supposed to take it. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication at room temperature, in a dry place, away from heat and direct light, and keep it out of the reach of children.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not take cabergoline if you:
- are allergic to cabergoline or any ingredients of the medication
- are allergic to ergot derivatives (e.g., ergotamine)
- have a history of lung or heart fibrotic disorders
- have altered heart valves (e.g., valve restriction)
- have high blood pressure that is not controlled
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- hot flashes
Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not check with your doctor or seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- abdominal pain
- breast pain
- changes in vision
- dizziness or fainting when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
- pathological gambling and increased sex drive (libido, hypersexuality)
- signs of depression (e.g., poor concentration, changes in weight, changes in sleep, decreased interest in activities, thoughts of suicide)
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- signs of fibrotic tissues developing (e.g., shortness of breath; swelling in the legs, ankles, and hands; persistent cough; chest pain)
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Behaviour changes: Some people have reported changes in behaviour associated with taking cabergoline. There have been occasional reports of aggressive behaviour or hostility, anxiousness, disorientation, or decreased memory. This may be more likely to happen if you have a history of mental illness, such as depression or psychotic episodes. If you experience any of these effects or notice them in a family member who is taking this medication, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Dizziness: Cabergoline can cause severe dizziness, especially when rising from a sitting or lying position. This may occur more often when other medications with similar side effects are being taken. People taking medications that can cause dizziness should rise slowly from sitting or lying down to reduce the possibility of severe dizziness or fainting.
Drowsiness/reduced alertness: Cabergoline may affect the mental or physical abilities needed to drive or operate machinery. Avoid driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous tasks until you have determined how this medication affects you.
Heart, lung, and kidney function: Your doctor will assess the functioning of your heart, lungs, and kidney if prolonged treatment is required as prolonged use of this medication can cause fibrosis or dysfunction of these organs. If you experience shortness of breath, a cough that won't go away, or chest pain, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Liver function: Liver disease or reduced liver function may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have liver problems, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. Your doctor may want to test your liver function regularly with blood tests while you are taking this medication.
Cabergoline has been reported to cause liver failure, which can cause death. This medication may also cause a decrease in liver function. If you experience symptoms of liver problems such as fatigue, feeling unwell, loss of appetite, nausea, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, dark urine, pale stools, abdominal pain or swelling, and itchy skin, contact your doctor immediately.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Also, cabergoline should not be used by women with high blood pressure conditions caused by pregnancy, such as eclampsia or preeclampsia, unless the benefits outweigh the risks.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children less than 16 years old. This medication should not be used by this age group unless the benefits outweigh the risks.
Seniors: Studies of cabergoline have not been carried out in seniors. This medication should not be used by this age group unless the benefits outweigh the risks.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between cabergoline and any of the following:
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.