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PERGOLIDE (Systemic)

Some commonly used brand names are:

In the U.S.—

  • Permax

In Canada—

  • Permax


  • Antidyskinetic (dopamine agonist)


Pergolide (PER-go-lide) belongs to the group of medicines known as ergot alkaloids. It is used with levodopa or with carbidopa and levodopa combination to treat people who have Parkinson"s disease. It works by stimulating certain parts of the central nervous system (CNS) that are involved in this disease.

Pergolide is available only with your doctor"s prescription, in the following dosage form:

  • Oral
  • Tablets (U.S. and Canada)

Before Using This Medicine

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For pergolide, the following should be considered:

Allergies—Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to pergolide or other ergot medicines such as ergotamine. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes.

Pregnancy—Studies have not been done in pregnant women. However, pergolide has not been shown to cause birth defects or other problems in animal studies.

Breast-feeding—This medicine may stop milk from being produced.

Children—Studies on this medicine have been done only in adult patients, and there is no specific information about its use in children.

Older adults—This medicine has been tested and has not been shown to cause different side effects or problems in older people than it does in younger adults.

Other medicines—Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases 2 different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking pergolide, it is especially important that your health care professional know if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Other medical problems—The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of pergolide. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Heart disease or
  • Mental problems (history of)—Pergolide may make the condition worse

Proper Use of This Medicine

If pergolide upsets your stomach, it may be taken with meals. If stomach upset continues, check with your doctor.

Dosing—The dose of pergolide will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor"s orders or the directions on the label . The following information includes only the average doses of pergolide. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The number of tablets that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are taking pergolide .

  • For oral dosage form (tablets):
    • Adults: 50 micrograms a day for the first two days. The dose may be increased every three days as needed. However, the usual dose is not more than 5000 micrograms.

Missed dose—If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

Storage—To store this medicine:

  • Keep out of the reach of children.
  • Store away from heat and direct light.
  • Do not store in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down.
  • Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed. Be sure that any discarded medicine is out of the reach of children.

Precautions While Using This Medicine

It is important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits, to make sure that this medicine is working and to check for unwanted effects.

This medicine may cause some people to become drowsy, dizzy, or less alert than they are normally. Make sure you know how you react to this medicine before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are dizzy or are not alert .

Dizziness, light-headedness, or fainting may occur after the first doses of pergolide, especially when you get up from a lying or sitting position. Getting up slowly may help. Taking the first dose at bedtime or when you are able to lie down may also lessen problems. If the problem continues or gets worse, check with your doctor.

Pergolide may cause dryness of the mouth. For temporary relief, use sugarless candy or gum, melt bits of ice in your mouth, or use a saliva substitute. However, if your mouth continues to feel dry for more than 2 weeks, check with your medical doctor or dentist. Continuing dryness of the mouth may increase the chance of dental disease, including tooth decay, gum disease, and fungus infections.

It may take several weeks for pergolide to work. Do not stop taking this medicine or reduce the amount you are taking without first checking with your doctor.

Side Effects of This Medicine

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:


Chest pain (severe); convulsions (seizures); difficulty in breathing; fainting; fast heartbeat or irregular pulse; headache (severe or continuing); high fever; high or low (irregular) blood pressure; increased sweating; loss of bladder control; nausea and vomiting (continuing or severe); nervousness; severe muscle stiffness; sudden weakness; unexplained shortness of breath; unusual tiredness or weakness; unusually pale skin; vision changes, such as blurred vision or temporary blindness

Also, check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

More common

Anxiety; bloody or cloudy urine; confusion; difficult or painful urination; frequent urge to urinate; hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there); uncontrolled movements of the body, such as the face, tongue, arms, hands, head, and upper body

Less common

Dizziness; headache; swelling in hands and legs


Abdominal pain or pressure; chills; cough; decreased flow of urine; fever; pain in side or lower back

Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

More common

Chest congestion; constipation; dizziness or light-headedness, especially when getting up from a lying or sitting position; drowsiness; heartburn; lower back pain; muscle pain; nausea; runny or stuffy nose; trouble in sleeping; weakness

Less common

Diarrhea; dryness of mouth; loss of appetite; swelling of the face; vomiting

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.

Additional Information

Once a medicine has been approved for marketing for a certain use, experience may show that it is also useful for other medical problems. Although this use is not included in the product labeling, pergolide is used in certain patients with the following medical condition:

  • Restless legs syndrome

Other than the above information, there is no additional information relating to proper use, precautions, or side effects for this use.

Revised: 01/07/2003

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Typical mistypes for Pergolide
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