Pramipexole is used alone or with other medications to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD; a disorder of the nervous system that causes difficulties with movement, muscle control, and balance), including shaking of parts of the body, stiffness, slowed movements, and problems with balance. Pramipexole is also used to treat restless legs syndrome (RLS; a condition that causes discomfort in the legs and a strong urge to move the legs, especially at night and when sitting or lying down). Pramipexole is in a class of medications called dopamine agonists. It works by acting in place of dopamine, a natural substance in the brain that is needed to control movement.
Side Effects Of Pramipexole
Pramipexole may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- loss of balance, falling
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- difficulty remembering
- abnormal dreams
- dry mouth
- swollen, stiff, or painful joints
- pain in the back, arms, or legs
- frequent urination or urgent need to urinate
- difficulty urinating or pain when urinating
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist), confusion, aggressive behavior, agitation, abnormal thoughts
- changes in vision
- abnormal body movements and motions that you cannot control
- changes in the way you sit or stand that you cannot control, such as your neck bending forward, bending forward at the waist, or tilting sideways when you sit, stand, or walk,
- dark, red, or cola-colored urine
- muscle tenderness
- muscle stiffness or aching
- muscle weakness
Pramipexole may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are taking this medication.
Warnings & Precautions
Before taking pramipexole:
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to pramipexole or any other medications, or any of the ingredients in pramipexole tablets or extended-release tablets. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for a list of the inactive ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: antihistamines; cimetidine (Tagamet); medications for allergies, mental illness, and nausea; metoclopramide (Reglan); sedatives; sleeping pills; and tranquilizers. . Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had a mental illness, trouble controlling the movement of your muscles, a sleep disorder other than restless legs syndrome, dizziness, fainting, low blood pressure, or kidney disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while taking pramipexole, call your doctor.
- you should know that pramipexole may make you drowsy or may cause you to suddenly fall asleep during your regular daily activities. You might not feel drowsy before you suddenly fall asleep. Do not drive a car or operate machinery at the beginning of your treatment until you know how pramipexole will affect you. If you suddenly fall asleep while you are doing something such as watching television or riding in a car, or if you become very drowsy, call your doctor. Do not drive or operate machinery until you talk to your doctor.
- you should know that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this medication. Tell your doctor if you regularly drink alcoholic beverages.
- you should know that pramipexole may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, fainting, or sweating when you get up too quickly from a sitting or lying position. This is more common when you first start taking pramipexole, or when your dose is increased. To avoid this problem, get out of the chair or bed slowly, resting your feet on the floor for a few minutes before standing up.
- you should know that some people who took medications such as pramipexole to treat Parkinson’s disease or restless legs syndrome developed gambling problems, an increased interest in shopping or sex, overeating problems, or other intense urges or behaviors that were compulsive or unusual for them. There is not enough information to tell whether the people developed these problems because they took the medication or for other reasons. Call your doctor if you develop intense urges or have difficulty controlling any of these behaviors. Tell your family members about these risks so that they can call the doctor even if you do not realize that your behavior has become a problem.
- you should know that if you are taking the extended-release tablets, you may notice something that looks like a swollen tablet or swollen pieces of tablet in your stool. If this happens, especially along with a worsening of your Parkinson’s disease symptoms, call your doctor.
Dosage Of Pramipexole
Pramipexole comes as a tablet and an extended-release (long-acting) tablet to take by mouth. When pramiprexole is used to treat Parkinson’s disease, the regular tablet is usually taken three times a day and the extended-release tablet is usually taken once daily. When pramiprexole is used to treat restless legs syndrome, the regular tablet is usually taken once a day, 2 to 3 hours before bedtime. Pramipexole extended-release tablets are not used to treat restless legs syndrome. Pramipexole may be taken with or without food, but taking pramipexole with food may help to prevent nausea that may be caused by the medication. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take pramipexole exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Swallow the extended-release tablets whole; do not split, chew, or crush them.
Your doctor will start you on a low dose of pramipexole and gradually increase your dose. Your doctor will probably not increase your dose more often than once every 4 to 7 days. It may take several weeks before you reach a dose that works for you.
If you are taking pramipexole to treat restless legs syndrome, you should know that as your treatment continues, your symptoms may worsen, may begin earlier in the evening or afternoon, or may occur in the early morning. Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen or if they begin to occur at different times than in the past.
Pramipexole controls the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and restless legs syndrome but does not cure these conditions. Continue to take pramipexole even if you feel well. Do not stop taking pramipexole without talking to your doctor. If you are taking pramipexole to treat Parkinson’s disease and you suddenly stop taking the medication, you may experience, fever, muscle stiffness, changes in consciousness, and other symptoms. If you are taking pramipexole to treat restless legs syndrome and you suddenly stop taking the medication, your symptoms may become worse than they were before you started taking this medication. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually.
If you stop taking pramipexole for any reason, do not start to take the medication again without talking to your doctor. Your doctor will probably want to increase your dose again gradually.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient.
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.