Dopamine Agonists

Dopamine Agonists

Dopamine agonist drugs act like dopamine to stimulate your nerve cells and can be used at any stage of treatment.

Agonist drugs can be used:

  • As a single therapy to improve symptoms in early disease
  • As adjuncts to levodopa in patients whose response to levodopa is deteriorating
  • In those who are experiencing fluctuations in their response to levodopa.

Dopamine agonists are effective to treat motor features of early PD, and they cause less development of motor fluctuations and dyskinesia than levodopa.For patients with motor fluctuations on levodopa, the addition of a dopamine agonist reduces off time, improves motor function, and allows lower levodopa doses.

Generic drug names and brand names

  • Pramipexole (Mirapexin)
  • Ropinirole (ReQuip)
  • Rotigotine (Neupro)
  • Apomorphine (APO-go PEN, APO-go PFS)

Side effects

The listed potential side effects for Ropinirole, a standard agonist drug, are:

Very common

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting


  • Fainting or brief loss of consciousness
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Feeling nervous
  • Sleepiness – this may be excessive or occur very suddenly at any time of the day
  • Stomach pain
  • Tiredness
  • Vertigo

Parkinson's Dopamine Agonists


  • A drop in blood pressure on standing or sitting up
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Lowered blood pressure

Very rare

  • Abnormal laboratory test results
  • Liver problems

Frequency unknown:

  • Angioedema
  • Behavioural changes such as an urge to gamble, to buy or to shop, increased libido, Hypersexuality.
  • Hypersensitivity reactions
  • Itching
  • Skin rash or rashes
  • Unusual increase in appetite or binge eating. You or your carer should seek medical advice if there are any changes to your behaviour
  • Urticaria
  • Worsening of the symptoms of restless legs syndrome

For more information

The Parkinson’s UK website is very helpful click here