Bromocriptine Side Effects: Nausea, Weight Changes, Heartburn, More

Bromocriptine is a medication used to treat conditions such as type 2 diabetes, menstrual irregularities, infertility, and Parkinson’s disease.

Like all medications, bromocriptine comes with potential side effects. 

It’s beneficial to be aware of the potential side effects, so you know what to expect when you start taking bromocriptine, as well as some things that can help reduce the severity of the side effects.

Side effects of bromocriptine and how to reduce them

1) Nausea and/or vomiting

Feeling nauseous or having a “queasy stomach” can interfere with your quality of life, even if it doesn’t make you vomit. 

Nausea is a common side effect of many medications and, like most side effects, is more likely to occur when you start taking bromocriptine or increase your dose.

If your nausea or vomiting is severe, your healthcare provider might prescribe a medication to help bring you some relief. 

There are also some natural remedies and diet modifications you can try, such as:

  • Focus on eating smaller meals and snacks and avoid large meals, which can worsen nausea.
  • Eat cold foods instead of hot foods since cold foods give off less of a scent, which can trigger nausea.
  • Eat a low-fiber, bland diet that is easy to digest. A BRAT diet is often recommended and stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast, but it can also include foods like broth-based soups, canned fruit, and low-fat yogurt.
  • Try sipping peppermint tea or inhaling peppermint essential oil. Some studies suggest it can be effective in reducing nausea and vomiting.
  • Sip ginger ale or chew on ginger candies, which are popular for their potential nausea-fighting benefits.
  • Avoid eating fatty foods – they take longer to digest, which can worsen nausea.
  • If you’re losing a lot of fluids from vomiting, sip on clear liquids like sports drinks, fruit juice, and popsicles to prevent dehydration.

2) Diarrhea

Diarrhea occurs when stool moves quickly through your digestive system, which doesn’t allow your colon (large intestine) to absorb liquid out of your stool (poop). 

Persistent diarrhea is not only disruptive to your daily routine, but it can cause other problems like dehydration.

If you’re experiencing diarrhea from bromocriptine, consider the following in addition to the suggestions for nausea and vomiting just mentioned:

  • Avoid high-fiber foods like raw fruits, vegetables, and whole grains – these foods can worsen diarrhea in some instances. However, some types of fiber can help with diarrhea, such as the kind in oats and apples without the skin.
  • Limit or avoid caffeine, which is a stimulant and can worsen diarrhea.

3) Constipation

You might experience the opposite effect of diarrhea and have constipation, which occurs when your bowel movements are hard and difficult to pass. 

If you’re constipated, you might not have as many bowel movements as you usually do, and they might be painful to pass.

To help relieve constipation from bromocriptine, you can try:

  • Increasing your fluid intake.
  • Boosting your fiber intake by eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
  • Increase your physical activity.
  • Drink some caffeine, which can stimulate your digestive system and help relieve constipation in some instances.

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4) Heartburn

Heartburn (acid reflux) occurs when stomach acid comes up into your esophagus, the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. 

Your esophagus isn’t meant to handle the acidity of stomach acid, so it creates an uncomfortable burning sensation.

Some foods can worsen heartburn by relaxing the bottom opening of your esophagus, which allows stomach acid to enter. 

Some foods to avoid to help ease heartburn include:

  • High-fat foods
  • Caffeine 
  • Peppermint
  • Chocolate

5) Headache

A headache can be relieved with over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and naproxen – but ask your healthcare provider which medications are best for you given your health history.

If you get a headache from bromocriptine, make sure you’re getting enough sleep, drink plenty of water, or apply a cool compress to your head, which might offer some relief.

6) Tiredness

Feeling tired (fatigued) is a potential side effect of bromocriptine. It can be difficult to treat fatigue caused by medication, but you can support your energy levels by getting enough sleep, avoiding caffeine close to bedtime, and resting when you are able during the day.

7) Sleeping problems

If you’re having a hard time sleeping (the medical term is insomnia), it can worsen other side effects like feeling tired. 

Sleeping problems as a side effect usually get better after you get used to taking a new medication. 

In the meantime, you can ask your healthcare provider if there are any sleep aids that you can use for temporary relief.

Other natural remedies that might help you sleep include:

  • Drinking chamomile tea before bedtime.
  • Using lavender essential oil, which is proven to help sleep problems in some studies.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise close to bedtime.
  • Staying away from screens close to bedtime (TV, phones, etc).

8) Dizziness

Dizziness or lightheadedness can occur while taking bromocriptine. If you’re too dizzy to safely drive or operate machinery, reach out to your healthcare provider immediately. 

In the meantime, you can help ease dizziness by:

  • Staying hydrated (dehydration can worsen dizziness).
  • Avoiding alcohol.
  • Being slow to change from sitting to standing.

Does bromocriptine make you gain weight?

Bromocriptine isn’t known to cause weight gain as a common side effect. In fact, studies show that bromocriptine might cause weight loss.

If you’ve gained weight while taking bromocriptine, it might be due to a change in your diet, activity level, or other medications. 

If you experience rapid, unexpected weight loss, reach out to your healthcare provider since it might be a sign of an underlying health issue.

How long do bromocriptine’s adverse effects last?

Side effects from new medications typically start to dissipate several weeks after you start taking them. 

People taking bromocriptine will respond to it differently – some people might have severe side effects while others have minimal side effects.

If your side effects are interfering with your normal lifestyle or are otherwise debilitating, reach out to your prescribing healthcare provider for guidance.

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Are there any long-term side effects of bromocriptine?

There aren’t any known long-term side effects of bromocriptine. Any side effects from long-term use of bromocriptine are noted to be “relatively benign” and “reversible,” according to a study.

Side effects of stopping bromocriptine

If you stop taking bromocriptine, the side effects will vary depending on what you are taking it for. 

For instance, if you were taking it for abnormal lactation, you might begin leaking milk again.

If you were experiencing side effects from bromocriptine, they’ll likely dissipate as soon as you stop taking it.

If you stop taking bromocriptine abruptly, you might experience other side effects, such as:

  • Mood changes, such as lack of interest in things you usually cared about, anxiety, and depression.
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • Sweating.
  • Pain.

To help avoid any adverse side effects from stopping bromocriptine, it’s advised to follow the advice of your prescribing healthcare provider if you need to stop taking it. 

A gradual dose reduction can help avoid any side effects from discontinuing a medication. Never stop taking a medication without first consulting with your healthcare provider.


  • Bromocriptine is a medication used to treat a variety of health conditions. Like all medications, it comes with potential side effects.
  • Some of the potential side effects of bromocriptine include nausea, vomiting, constipation, heartburn, headache, tiredness, sleeping problems, and dizziness.

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  2. Hieu TH, Dibas M, Surya Dila KA, Sherif NA, Hashmi MU, Mahmoud M, Trang NTT, Abdullah L, Nghia TLB, Y MN, Hirayama K, Huy NT. Therapeutic efficacy and safety of chamomile for state anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, insomnia, and sleep quality: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials and quasi-randomized trials. Phytother Res. 2019 Jun;33(6):1604-1615. doi: 10.1002/ptr.6349. Epub 2019 Apr 21. PMID: 31006899.
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