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Home > Wellness > Health Library > Bromocriptine or Cabergoline for Infertility
Bromocriptine and cabergoline reduce the body's amount of
prolactin, a hormone produced by the
pituitary gland. Excess prolactin makes a woman stop
ovulating. In a man, it reduces sperm production,
impairs sex drive, and causes impotence (erectile dysfunction).
Bromocriptine or cabergoline may be used when a woman is not
ovulating because she has high levels of prolactin in her blood.
Bromocriptine may be used to treat a man whose reproductive
functions are impaired because he has abnormally high levels of prolactin.
High prolactin is commonly produced by a pituitary tumor. If you
have elevated prolactin levels, you will need further testing to find whether a
tumor is present. Bromocriptine is used to treat male infertility only if it is
associated with a prolactin-producing pituitary tumor; the medicine helps to
normalize interactions between the pituitary gland and the
Among women who have ovulation problems due to excess prolactin,
70 to 90 out of 100 will begin having menstrual periods on a regular cycle and 50 to
75 out of 100 will begin ovulating normally while taking these medicines.1
Ovulation rates do not reflect the fact that well-timed
intercourse is necessary to conceive, and some pregnancies miscarry. In any
group of women, ovulation rates are higher than pregnancy rates, which are
higher than live birth rates.
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:
Call your doctor if you have:
Common side effects of this medicine include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference
is not available in all systems.)
While you are taking bromocriptine, avoid alcohol, and use extra care when
driving or operating machinery.
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
After you know you are pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Fritz MA, Speroff L (2011). Induction of ovulation. In
Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility, 8th
ed., pp. 1293–1330. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
November 14, 2013
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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