Ropinirole

Sounds like 'row-PIN-uh-roll'

Easy-to-read medicine information about ropinirole – what is it, how to take ropinirole safely and possible side effects.

Type of medicine Also called
  • Dopaminergic medicine
  • Belongs to a group of medicines to treat Parkinson's disease
  • Also used to treat restless legs syndrome
  • Apo-Ropinirole®
  • Requip®


What is ropinirole?

  • Ropinirole is used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, or Parkinson-like symptoms such as tremor, shakiness, stiffness, and difficulty moving.
  • Ropinirole works by helping to restore the balance of dopamine in your brain. Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that helps to control movement.  
  • Ropinirole is also used to treat restless legs syndrome. It helps to reduce the urge to move your legs and the unpleasant feelings you get with restless legs syndrome. 
  • Ropinirole is available as tablets.

Dose

  • The dose of ropinirole is different for different people.
  • You will be started on a low dose at first, and your doctor will increase your dose slowly, to control your symptoms. This reduces your chances of side effects and helps your body to get used to the medicine. 
  • The usual dose of ropinirole for Parkinson's disease is higher than the usual dose of ropinirole for restless legs syndrome. Always check your dose.
  • Always take your ropinirole exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much ropinirole to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions.

How to take ropinirole

  • You can take ropinirole with food, or just after a meal. Try taking ropinirole with food if it causes nausea (feeling sick).
  • Try to take your ropinirole at the same times of day each day.
  • For Parkinson's disease, ropinirole is usually taken 3 times a day, and for restless legs syndrome, ropinirole is taken once a day, about 2 to 3 hours before bed. 
  • If you do miss a dose then take your next dose when it is due. Do not take double the dose.  
  • Keep taking ropinirole regularly. Stopping treatment suddenly can cause serious problems.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, ropinirole can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Feeling or being sick (nausea)
  • This is common when you first start taking ropinirole
  • Take your doses after food
  • Falling asleep suddenly during daily activities (such as talking on the phone, or driving)
  • This sleep effect can occur without any feelings of drowsiness beforehand, and can happen anytime during treatment with this medication
  • Tell your doctor
  • Do not drive or use tools until you know how this medicine affects you and until these have stopped happening
  • Avoid drinking alcohol
  • Feeling dizzy or faint when you stand up (due to a sudden drop in blood pressure)
  • Be careful when getting up from either lying down or sitting, to avoid falls
  • Tell your doctor
 
  • Impulsive types of behaviour or intense urges that are difficult to control such as binge eating, gambling and increased sexual urges 
 
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine 0800 611 116
  • Uncontrollable jerky movements, where you switch suddenly from being able to move to being immobile
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine 0800 611 116

Interactions

Ropinirole interacts with a number of important medications and herbal supplements, so check with your doctor or pharmacist.

Learn more

The following links provide further information on ropinirole. Be aware that websites from other countries may contain information that differs from New Zealand recommendations.

Ropinirole tablets Patient Info, UK.

Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland Last reviewed: 08 Dec 2016