If you have ever researched which prescription medications help with weight loss, you may have come across bromocriptine. Typically, a doctor prescribes bromocriptine for certain menstrual problems or to eliminate milk production in some women or men, according to the Mayo Clinic. The way the medication functions in the body may also promote weight loss in some people.
Only available by prescription, bromocriptine affects brain chemicals and hormone levels. This drug helps restore the natural balance of dopamine in the brain, according to the book “Prentice Hall Nurse’s Drug Guide.” The book goes on to explain bromocriptine prevents the release of hormones, such as growth hormone and prolactin. However, this medication does not cure the causes of increased hormone levels. Other hormone levels may also vary while on bromocriptine.
The dose of this medication used to assist with weight loss varies from patient to patient. Your doctor can prescribe the best dosage based on your medical history and personal characteristics. Initial doses of this medication vary from 0.8 to 1.25 mg each day. Your doctor may increase the dose as needed until it produces the desired results. Dosages over 1.25 to 2.5 mg per day require two to three smaller doses taken throughout the day. Take any missed doses as soon as you remember, unless it is within four hours of your next dose.
Bromocriptine can interact with certain medications or may increase illness. Its safety and effectiveness has yet to be determined in patients with renal disease or hepatic disease, according to Drugs.com. Patients on medications for lowering blood pressure should use extreme care when taking bromocriptine. Anyone with a history of psychosis or cardiovascular disease may experience more side effects from this medication. Dr. Michael Hall, a family physician at DuBois Regional Medical Center in DuBois, Pennsylvania, advises that overdoses of bromocriptine can cause heart failure, respiratory collapse and death. If you notice signs of overdose, including extreme nausea and vomiting, pale skin, general feeling of uneasiness, fainting, confusion, hallucinations or delusions, seek immediate medical attention.
Side effects from bromocriptine range from dizziness when getting up from a lying or sitting position to nausea to hallucinations to drowsiness, according to Mayo Clinic. Use caution when driving or operating heavy machinery until you know how your body reacts to this medication. If the side effects of the drug do not go away within a week of taking the medication or prevent you from preforming your normal daily activities, contact your healthcare provider.
Bromocriptine helped to lower the body mass index of male and female participants in a study conducted by Mirjana Doknic and collogues and published in the July 2002 issue of "European Journal of Endocrinology." These changes did not appear until after six months of bromocriptine treatment. The study shows that body mass changes may have resulted from decreased levels of serum leptin, a hormone that controls hunger and metabolism. After one year, the participants who had a higher serum leptin level also had a higher body mass index.