Dopamine receptor agonists
- Dopamine agonists act like dopamine to stimulate nerve cells.
- Dopamine agonists can be used at all stages of Parkinson’s disease.(11)
- Ergot derived bromocriptine, cabergoline and pergolide are rarely used due to fibrotic reactions. If used, patients should be monitored for dyspnoea, persistent cough, chest pain and abdominal pain.(8)
- All newer dopamine agonists are non-ergot, these are apomorphine, pramipexole, ropinirole and rotigotine. They are not associated with an increased risk of heart damage.(8)
- Apomorphine is a strong dopamine agonist that is given by injection or infusion pump. It is reserved for advanced Parkinson’s that does not respond well to oral treatment.(5)
Side effects of dopamine receptor agonists
- Can make patients sleepy especially during the day and can lead to sudden onset of sleep.(5)
- Using dopamine agonists means a lower dose of levodopa can be used.
- ON and OFF effects tend to occur less.