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Cabergoline oral 500microgram


Tablets containing 500 micrograms of cabergoline

Drugs List

  • cabergoline 500microgram tablets
  • DOSTINEX 500microgram tablets
  • Therapeutic Indications


    Lactation - inhibition of
    Lactation - suppression of

    Inhibition of lactation.

    Suppression of established lactation.

    Treatment of symptoms associated with hyperprolactinaemia, including amenorrhoea, oligomenorrhoea, anovulation and galactorrhoea. It is indicated in patients with prolactin-secreting pituitary adenomas (micro- and macroprolactinomas), idiopathic hyperprolactinaemia, or empty sella syndrome with associated hyperprolactinaemia.


    The drug should only be prescribed by a specialist.


    Inhibition of lactation
    Administer 1mg as a single dose within the first 24 hours post partum.

    Suppression of established lactation
    250 micrograms every 12 hours for 2 days giving a total dose of 1 mg.

    Treatment of hyperprolactinaemic disorders
    Initially, 500 micrograms per week given in either one dose, or as two doses on separate days e.g. on Mondays and Thursdays.

    This dose should be increased gradually, preferably by 500 microgram increments per week at monthly intervals until an optimal response is achieved. The therapeutic dose is usually 1mg weekly and ranges from 250 micrograms to 2 mg weekly. Doses of up to 4.5 mg weekly have been used in hyperprolactinaemic patients, however the maximum dose is 3 mg per day.

    The weekly dose may be given as a single administration or divided into multiple administrations according to patient tolerability. Divided dose is recommended when total weekly doses of greater than 1mg are given as there is limited data on doses greater than 1 mg taken once weekly.

    Monitor patients during dose escalation to determine the lowest dose that produces the therapeutic response. Monitor serum prolactin levels monthly as normalisation is usually achieved within 2 to 4 weeks of attaining the effective therapeutic dose.

    Patients with Renal Impairment

    Safety and efficacy have not been established in patients with renal disease. Patients with end-stage renal failure, or those on haemodialysis should be treated with caution.

    The Renal Drug Handbook indicates that no dose adjustment is necessary.

    Patients with Hepatic Impairment

    Lower doses should be considered in patients with severe hepatic insufficiency (Child-Pugh Class C).


    Children under 16 years
    History of fibrotic disorder
    History of puerperal psychosis
    Acute porphyria
    Cardiac valvulopathy
    History of pericardial disorder
    History of pulmonary fibrosis
    Pregnancy-induced hypertension
    Retroperitoneal fibrosis
    Uncontrolled hypertension

    Precautions and Warnings

    Cardiovascular disorder
    Gastrointestinal haemorrhage
    Glucose-galactose malabsorption syndrome
    History of psychiatric disorder
    Lactose intolerance
    Peptic ulcer
    Raynaud's syndrome
    Renal impairment
    Severe hepatic impairment

    Advise ability to drive/operate machinery may be affected by side effects
    Advise patient that sudden onset sleep episodes may affect ability to drive
    In pituitary tumours, treat the underlying condition
    Contains lactose
    Baseline assessment of inflammatory markers/ESR advised
    Baseline assessment of lung function advised
    Consider chest x-ray prior to initiating therapy
    Evaluate pituitary function before initiating long term therapy
    Evaluate renal function before and during treatment
    Exclude pregnancy prior to initiation of treatment
    Perform echocardiography before commencing therapy
    Discontinue if signs of gastro-intestinal bleeding occur
    Ensure negative monthly pregnancy tests throughout treatment
    Monitor for signs of fibrotic changes - discontinue if they occur
    Monitor for signs of pulmonary toxicity on long term therapy
    Monitor for signs of retroperitoneal fibrosis - discontinue if they occur
    Monitor patients for impulse control disorders
    Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of cardiac failure
    Monitor serum prolactin during long-term use
    Patient should have regular physical and gynaecological examinations
    Perform ECHO after 3-6 months of starting drug, then every 6-12 months
    Pregnancy:Monitor blood pressure in 1st days of treatment in the puerperium
    Advise patient that postural hypotension may occur
    Dopamine agonists have been associated with pathological gambling
    Patient should be made aware of possible adverse effects on mood/behaviour
    Discontinue if valvular regurgitation, restriction or thickening occurs
    Pregnancy confirmed: Discontinue this medication
    Reduce dose or discontinue if sudden onset of sleep during daily activities
    Female: Contraception required during and for 1 month after treatment
    Breastfeeding: Do not breastfeed if lactation suppression fails

    Hyperprolactinaemic disorders

    Before treatment
    All patients must undergo a cardiovascular evaluation, including echocardiogram to assess the potential presence of asymptomatic valvular disease. Also perform baseline investigations of erythrocyte sedimentation rate or other inflammatory markers, lung function/chest X-ray, serum creatinine and renal function prior to initiation of therapy. If fibrotic valvular disease is detected, the patient should not be treated with cabergoline.

    Patients with hyperprolactinaemia should undergo a complete pituitary evaluation to exclude patients with pituitary tumours before commencing treatment.

    During Treatment
    Fibrotic and serosal inflammatory disorders have occurred after prolonged use with ergot-derivatives such as cabergoline. Valvulopathy has been associated with cumulative doses, therefore patients should be treated with the lowest effective dose.

    During long-term treatment, monitor for fibrotic disorders to prevent progressive fibrosis. The following symptoms should be monitored: dyspnoea, shortness of breath, persistent cough or chest pain; renal insufficiency or ureteral/abdominal vascular obstruction, lower limb oedema, abdominal masses or tenderness that may indicated retroperitoneal fibrosis; cases of valvular and pericardial fibrosis that may manifest as cardiac failure. Cabergoline should be discontinued if an ECHO reveals new or worsened valvular regurgitation, valvular restriction or valve leaflet thickening.

    Clinical diagnostic monitoring for development of valvular disease or fibrotic disorders, is essential. Following treatment initiation, the first echocardiogram must occur within 3-6 months; thereafter the frequency of ECHO monitoring should be determined by appropriate individual clinical assessment, but must occur at least every 6-12 months.

    Pathological gambling, increased libido, hypersexuality, compulsive spending, binge eating and other symptoms of impulse control disorder have been reported in patients treated with cabergoline. A reduction in dose or termination of therapy maybe considered.

    Monitor women who become pregnant to detect sign of pituitary enlargement as pre-existing tumours may expand during gestation.

    Pregnancy and Lactation


    There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Limited data regarding the use of cabergoline during human pregnancy at the lower doses used for hyperprolactinaemia gave no indication of an increased risk of birth defects in over 350 pregnancies that occurred during treatment (Schaefer, 2007). Manufacturers also reports data from 256 pregnancies, 17 pregnancies showed incidence of abortion and congenital abnormality. Musculoskeletal malformations were the most common neonatal abnormality, followed by cardio-pulmonary abnormalities.

    If pregnancy is confirmed during therapy, then cabergoline should be discontinued to minimise foetal exposure. However, Briggs (2011) states that there is no evidence that exposure to cabergoline during pregnancy is harmful. Schaefer (2007) concludes that continuing treatment is not grounds for termination or invasive diagnostic procedure.

    Cabergoline crosses the placenta in rats, although it is unknown whether this is also true for humans. Animal studies have shown no embryo or foetal toxicity (Briggs, 2011)

    The use of all medication in pregnancy should be avoided whenever possible; particularly in the first trimester. Non-drug treatments should also be considered. When essential, a medication with the best safety record over time should be chosen, employing the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time. Polypharmacy should be avoided. Teratogens taken in the pre-embryonic period, often quoted as lasting until 14 to 17 days post-conception, are believed to have an all-or-nothing effect. Where drugs have a short half-life, and when the date of conception is certain, this may allow women to be reassured where drug exposure has occurred within this time frame. Further advice may be available from the UK National Teratology Information Service (NTIS) and through ToxBase, available via password on the internet ( ) or if this is unavailable at the backup site ( ).


    Cabergoline suppresses lactation through its inhibition of prolactin release from the anterior pituitary gland. Therefore, it is not recommended for any woman wishing to breastfeed.

    It is not known whether cabergoline is excreted in human breast milk although in rats, cabergoline and/or its metabolites have been present in milk. The manufacturer advises that in cases of failed inhibition or suppression of lactation, breastfeeding should not take place as the risk to humans is unknown. Schaefer (2007), however, concludes that as long as milk is being produced, breastfeeding may continue, even when cabergoline is being given. Hale (2010) also agrees that in cases where lactation is retained, breastfeeding may occur providing the infant is monitored for ergot side effects.

    Neonates, infants born prematurely, those with low birth weight, those with an unstable gastrointestinal function or who have serious illnesses may require special consideration. For any infant, if a drug is prescribed to the nursing mother, it should be at the lowest practical dose and for the shortest time. When drug administration is unavoidable and breastfeeding is to continue, minimisation of exposure of the infant to the drug may sometimes be achieved by timing the maternal doses to just after a feeding episode. Infants exposed to drugs via breast milk should be monitored for unusual signs or symptoms. Interactions between the drug received by the infant from the mother's milk and medication prescribed for the infant should also be considered, for example, when the drug given to the infant may prevent metabolism of the drug received via breast milk.
    Specialist advice is available from the UK Drugs in Lactation Advisory Service at


    Advise patients to take the tablets with or after food.

    Advise patients that excessive daytime sleepiness or sudden onset of sleep and hypotensive reactions may occur and that they should exercise caution when driving or operating machinery. Patients who have been affected by excessive daytime sleepiness or sudden onset of sleep should be advised that they should not drive or operate machinery until the effects have stopped recurring.

    Advise women to use non-hormonal methods of contraception during treatment and for 1 month thereafter.

    Women who wish to become pregnant should conceive at least 1 month after cessation of treatment.

    Women who do not wish to become pregnant should use non-hormonal methods of contraception during treatment and, following treatment, until the recurrence of anovulation (due to hyperprolactinaemic disorder).

    Side Effects

    Abdominal pain
    Abnormal fibrotic reactions
    Abnormal liver function tests
    Abnormal vision
    Allergic skin reactions
    Binge eating
    Breast pain
    Cardiac valvulopathy
    Chest pain
    Compulsive disorders
    Creatine phosphokinase increased
    Decrease in blood pressure
    Decrease in haemoglobin
    Epigastric pain
    Facial flushing
    Hepatic impairment
    Hot flushes
    Hypersensitivity reactions
    Increased libido
    Leg cramps
    Muscle weakness
    Orthostatic hypotension
    Pathological gambling
    Pericardial effusion
    Peripheral oedema
    Pleural effusion
    Pulmonary fibrosis
    Respiratory disorders
    Respiratory failure
    Retroperitoneal fibrosis
    Sleep disturbances
    Sudden sleep onset episodes


    It is strongly recommended that the UK National Poisons Information Service be consulted on cases of suspected or actual overdose where there is doubt over the degree of risk or about appropriate management.

    The following number will direct the caller to the relevant local centre (0844) 892 0111

    Information may be obtained if you have access to ToxBase the primary clinical toxicology database of the National Poisons Information Service. This is available via password on the internet ( ) or if this is unavailable at the backup site ( ).

    Further Information

    Last Full Review Date: July 2013

    Reference Sources

    British National Formulary, 65nd Edition (March - September 2013) Pharmaceutical Press, London.

    Drugs During Pregnancy and Lactation: Treatment Options and Risk Assessment, 2nd edition (2007) ed. Schaefer, C., Peters, P. and Miller, R. Elsevier, London.

    Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation: A Reference Guide to Fetal and Neonatal Risk, 9th edition (2011) ed. Briggs, G., Freeman, R. and Yaffe, S. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia.

    Martindale: The Complete Drug Reference, 37th edition (2011) ed. Sweetman, S. Pharmaceutical Press, London.

    Medications and Mothers' Milk, 14th Edition (2010) Hale, T. Hale Publishing, Amarillo, Texas.

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Dostinex tablets. Pfizer Ltd. Revised January 2013.

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Cabaser 1mg tablets. Pfizer Ltd. Revised January 2013.

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Cabaser 2mg tablets. Pfizer Ltd. Revised January 2013.

    The Renal Drug Handbook. 3rd edition. (2009) ed. Ashley, C and Currie, Radcliffe Publishing Ltd, Abingdon.

    US National Library of Medicine. Toxicology Data Network. Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed).
    Available at:
    Cabergoline Last revised: January 24, 2013
    Last accessed: July 16, 2013

    Drug Safety Update: Volume 2 issue 3 October 2008.
    Last accessed: July 16, 2013

    The drug database for acute porphyria
    Cabergoline Last revised October 1, 2010
    Last accessed: July 16, 2013

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