What are the adverse effects of dopamine agonists?

Updated: Aug 29, 2019
  • Author: Robert A Hauser, MD, MBA; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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The most common adverse effects of dopamine agonists are nausea, orthostatic hypotension, hallucinations, somnolence, and impulse control disorders. Nausea can usually be reduced by having the patient take the medication after meals. Domperidone, a peripheral dopamine agonist available outside the United States, is very helpful in relieving refractory nausea.

Patients on dopamine agonists should be routinely asked about sleepiness, sudden onset of sleep, and impulse control disorders such as pathologic gambling, shopping, internet use, and sexual activity. These adverse effects typically resolve with reduction in dose or discontinuation of the medication. Patients should be warned not to drive if they are experiencing undue sleepiness. They should also be warned about the possibility of impulse control disorders and the need to let their physician know if such an effect occurs.

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