Parkinsons Disease Home > Bromocriptine

How Does It Work?

Bromocriptine belongs to a group of medications known as ergot alkaloids. It works as a dopamine receptor agonist, which means that it binds to and stimulates dopamine receptors. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (a chemical that transmits signals between nerves). Because the symptoms of Parkinson's disease are caused by low dopamine levels in the brain, bromocriptine can help alleviate Parkinson's symptoms by acting like dopamine.
Acromegaly is caused by high levels of growth hormone. Bromocriptine works for acromegaly by decreasing growth hormone production by the pituitary gland. Bromocriptine works for hyperprolactinemia by decreasing prolactin production by the pituitary gland.
It is not entirely clear how bromocriptine works to control blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes, but it is thought that stimulating dopamine receptors in the brain at certain times of the day "resets" the biological clock and improves metabolism. It is thought that seasonal changes in the metabolism of wild animals are due to similar mechanisms.

When and How to Take Bromocriptine

General considerations for when and how to take bromocriptine include the following:
  • The medication comes in tablet and capsule form. It is taken by mouth, usually one to three times daily. When taken for diabetes, it is taken in the morning within two hours after waking. 
  • It should be taken with food.
  • Make sure to take bromocriptine at the same time(s) each day to maintain an even level of medicine in your blood.
  • For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. It will not work if you stop taking it.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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