Pergolide Side Effects
For the Consumer
Applies to pergolide: oral tablets
Side effects include:
Dyskinesia, hallucinations, somnolence, insomnia, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, dyspepsia, rhinitis.
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to pergolide: compounding powder, oral tablet
Gastrointestinal adverse effects are commonly seen during pergolide therapy. Nausea occurs in up to 25% of patients treated and may abate with continued therapy. Also, diarrhea, dyspepsia, abdominal pain, vomiting, and constipation are reported less commonly.[Ref]
Nervous system adverse effects are also commonly associated with pergolide therapy. Most patients experience an increase in dyskinesias with pergolide. Dizziness and somnolence occurs in approximately 11% of patients treated. Less commonly, insomnia, headache, anxiety, depression, and tremor occur. Hallucinations and confusion have been reported in approximately 14% of patients receiving pergolide and in a few patients following abrupt withdrawal. Two cases of sleep attacks have been reported in patients receiving pergolide. Sleep attacks have also been reported in a number of other patients receiving dopamine agonists.[Ref]
The incidence of hallucinations appears to be dose-related. Patients experiencing hallucinations during pergolide therapy may benefit from a dose reduction, however, often this is at the expense of control of Parkinson's Disease. In some patients, it is possible to increase the dose beyond the originally toxic dose without reoccurrence of hallucinations after a temporary decrease with resolutions of the side effects. Hallucinations following withdrawal of pergolide have been reported to persist for several weeks.[Ref]
Symptomatic postural hypotension is most commonly seen during initial therapy. Most patients become tolerant of this effect if begun on low doses and titrated up gradually over a period of three to four weeks.
Patients who experience angina in clinical trials have responded to a decrease in the dose. A possible association between pergolide and the development of ventricular arrhythmias was seen in a few patients during clinical trials. Although this association has not been verified, caution is recommended when high doses of pergolide are used in patients with cardiac disease.
The valvulopathy reported with pergolide has involved aortic, mitral and tricuspid valves. In some cases this side effect resolved with cessation of pergolide therapy. Valve replacement was required in two patients.
In a letter to the Healthcare Professional issued by Eli Lilly and Company last February 10, 2003, it states that of the estimated 500,000 people who have been treated with pergolide since the drug was launched in the United States in 1989, valvulopathy has been reported in less than 0.005%.[Ref]
Cardiovascular side effects have included rare reports of pleuritis, pleural effusion, pleural fibrosis, pericarditis, pericardial effusion, cardiac valvulopathy involving one or more valves or retroperitoneal fibrosis. The adverse effects reported at an incidence of greater than 1% (n=189) among patients taking pergolide when compared to placebo include: postural hypotension, vasodilation, palpitations, orthostatic hypotension, syncope, hypertension, arrhythmia, and myocardial infarction. Peripheral edema is occasionally reported. Angina has been reported in a few patients.[Ref]
Dermatologic abnormalities reported in patients receiving pergolide occasionally include erythema of the lower extremities, or erythromelalgia. This erythema may be very warm or painful.[Ref]
Hematologic abnormalities associated with pergolide therapy include anemia. Leukopenia has been reported infrequently.[Ref]
Respiratory adverse effects occasionally include dyspnea and nasal congestion.[Ref]
Musculoskeletal adverse effects may rarely include muscle cramps, arthralgia, and myalgias.[Ref]
Ocular adverse effects may include diplopia or vision changes in 2% to 6% of patients treated with pergolide.[Ref]
Urinary tract infections, urinary frequency, urinary incontinence, and hematuria are reported in approximately 3% of pergolide-treated patients.[Ref]
Other adverse effects of pergolide may include flu-like syndrome, and fever.[Ref]
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2. Olanow CW, Alberts MJ "Double-blind controlled study of pergolide mesylate in the treatment of Parkinson's disease." Clin Neuropharmacol 10 (1987): 178-85
3. Ahlskog JE, Muenter MD "Treatment of Parkinson's disease with pergolide: a double-blind study." Mayo Clin Proc 63 (1988): 969-78
4. "Product Information. Permax (pergolide)." Athena Neurosciences Inc, South San Francisco, CA.
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8. Ulivelli M, Rossi S, Lombardi C, et al. "Polysomnographic characterization of pergolide-induced sleep attacks in idiopathic PD." Neurology 58 (2002): 462-5
9. McHale DM, Sage JI "Hallucinations and confusion after pergolide withdrawal." Clin Neuropharmacol 11 (1988): 545-8
10. Schapira AHV "Sleep attacks (Sleep episodes) with pergolide." Lancet 355 (2000): 1332-3
11. Stern Y, Mayeux R, Ilson J, Fahn S, Cote L "Pergolide therapy for Parkinson's disease: neurobehavioral changes." Neurology 34 (1984): 201-4
12. Bonuccelli U, Colzi A, Del Dotto P "Pergolide in the treatment of patients with early and advanced Parkinson's disease." Clin Neuropharmacol 25 (2002): 1-10
13. Balachandran KP, Stewart D, Berg GA, Oldroyd KG "Chronic pericardial constriction linked to the antiparkinsonian dopamine agonist pergolide." Postgrad Med J 78 (2002): 49-50
14. Bleumink GS, Van Der Molen-Eijgenraam M, Strijbos JH, Sanwikarja S, Van Puijenbroek EP, Stricker BH "Pergolide-induced pleuropulmonary fibrosis." Clin Neuropharmacol 25 (2002): 290-3
15. Pritchett AM, Morrison JF, Edwards WD, Schaff HV, Connolly HM, Espinosa RE "Valvular heart disease in patients taking pergolide." Mayo Clin Proc 77 (2002): 1280-6
16. Rahimtoola SH "Drug-related valvular heart disease: here we go again: will we do better this time?" Mayo Clin Proc 77 (2002): 1275-7
17. Monk BE, Parkes JD, Du Vivier A "Erythromelalgia following pergolide administration." Br J Dermatol 111 (1984): 97-9
It is possible that some side effects of pergolide may not have been reported. These can be reported to the FDA here. Always consult a healthcare professional for medical advice.
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- Drug class: dopaminergic antiparkinsonism agents
Other brands: Permax
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