Side Effects of Ropinirole
Side effects of ropinirole can vary from patient to patient, depending on what condition the medicine is being used to treat. The most common side effects in people with Parkinson's disease include dizziness, nausea, and excessive tiredness. Common ropinirole side effects seen in people who are using the drug to treat restless legs syndrome include vomiting, dizziness, and headache.
As with any medicine, there are possible side effects of ropinirole; however, not everyone who takes ropinirole hydrochloride (Requip®) will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate the drug quite well. When people do develop side effects, in most cases, they are minor, meaning that they require no treatment or are easily treated by a healthcare provider.
Ropinirole was studied in several different groups of people. Because these groups were so different, the side effects have been broken down by group. These groups included:
- People with early Parkinson's disease who were not taking levodopa (Larodopa®, Sinemet®, Atamet®)
- People with advanced Parkinson's disease who were taking levodopa
- People with restless legs syndrome (RLS).
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with ropinirole. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of ropinirole side effects with you.)
For people with Parkinson's disease or restless legs syndrome, information to keep in mind regarding side effects of ropinirole includes:
- Ropinirole has been reported to cause people to fall asleep without warning during daily activities. Some of these events have happened as late as one year after treatment with ropinirole began. If this does occur, you should discuss your options with your healthcare provider.
- Ropinirole may cause fainting, lightheadedness, or dizziness. This is more common when going from a sitting or lying down position to standing up. This is especially true for people with blood vessel or heart disease (cardiovascular disease) when first starting ropinirole treatment or when changing dosages. Therefore, do not stand up quickly after sitting or lying down, particularly if you have been sitting or lying down for long periods of time. Take a minute to sit on the edge of the bed or chair before you get up.
- Ropinirole has been reported to cause people to experience hallucinations (mostly in people with Parkinson's disease). This side effect was rare in people taking ropinirole for restless legs syndrome. This side effect is also more common in the elderly or those taking ropinirole with levodopa.
- For people with Parkinson's, ropinirole may worsen some side effects of levodopa. For example, ropinirole may cause uncontrolled, sudden movements or worsen such movements that you already have. Decreasing the dose of L-dopa may improve this side effect.
- Studies have shown that people with Parkinson's disease are at a higher risk of developing melanoma, which is a form of skin cancer. It is not known whether this is because of Parkinson's or the Parkinson's medications. Therefore, people being treated with ropinirole should have regular skin exams by a healthcare provider and learn how to perform self skin exams.
- A small number of people taking Parkinson's medicines, including ropinirole, have developed a problem with gambling or other impulsive behaviors (such as risky sexual activity). It is not known if this is because of the medicine or something else. If you or your family notice that you have any unusual urges, make sure to talk with your healthcare provider.