Dostinex (cabergoline) is primarily prescribed to treat high levels of prolactin (hyperprolactinemia). It is also used to treat Parkinson’s disease, to restore or improve sexual function, to treat alcohol addiction, and for other off-label purposes. Dostinex can cause heart valve damage and other serious side effects.

Dostinex Uses

Dostinex is a dopamine receptor agonist. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Dostinex for treatment of hyperprolactinemia, a condition in which prolactin levels are too high.

Prolactin is a hormone which helps women produce breast milk. Too much prolactin in women who are not breastfeeding, and in men, can cause health problems including sexual problems, infertility, and bone loss.

Dostinex has many off-label and recreational uses including the treatment of:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Restless leg syndrome (RLS)
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Benign pituitary tumors
  • Gynecomastia (male breasts in bodybuilders)
  • Sexual dysfunction caused by SSRI antidepressants
  • Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) caused by fertility drugs
  • Acromegaly – a condition in which too much growth hormone causes tissues in the body to keep growing well into adulthood.

Heart Valve Damage and Other Fibrotic Complications

Dostinex can cause fibrotic complications including:

  • Cardiac valvulopathy
  • Pericardial fibrosis
  • Pleural fibrosis
  • Retroperitoneal fibrosis

Cardiac valvulopathy is damage to the heart valves due to cardiac fibrosis. A U.K. study found that 20% of Dostinex users developed heart valve damage. An Italian study found an even higher rate of nearly 29%.

Another Parkinson’s drug involved in the study, Permax, was withdrawn from the U.S. market due to the risk of heart valve damage. The FDA chose not to request withdrawal of Dostinex because it is only approved to treat hyperprolactinemia and heart valve damage is not thought to occur at the low doses used to treat that condition.

Pericardial fibrosis is thickening and stiffening of the protective sac around the heart, constricting the heart. Pericardial and valvular fibrosis can cause heart failure.

Pleural fibrosis affects the lungs. Symptoms can include shortness of breath, persistent cough, and chest pains.

Retroperitoneal fibrosis is blockage of the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder. Symptoms can include dull abdominal pain, leg pain, leg discoloration, leg swelling. It can lead to kidney failure and abdominal hemorrhaging.

Impulse Control Disorders

Dostinex can also cause impulse control disorders including:

  • Compulsive gambling
  • Compulsive shopping
  • Compulsive eating
  • Hypersexuality

If you have been injured by Dostinex use, please find a local Dostinex injury attorney and schedule an initial consultation to learn more right away.