Ropinirole

Sounds like 'row-PIN-uh-roll'

Ropinirole is used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Find out how to take it safely and possible side effects. Ropinirole is also called Requip.

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. 

Dose

In New Zealand ropinirole is available as tablets in different strengths: 250 microgram, 1 mg, 2 mg and 5 mg.

  • The dose of ropinirole is different for different people.
  • You will be started on a low dose and depending on your response, your doctor will increase your dose to control your symptoms.
  • Parkinson's disease: ropinirole is usually taken 3 times a day.
  • Restless legs syndrome: ropinirole is taken once a day, about 2 to 3 hours before bed. When you start ropinirole for restless leg syndrome, your symptoms might get worse initially. Discuss this with your doctor, as changing the dose can help.
  • 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

  • Timing: Take your ropinirole at the same times of day each day. You can take ropinirole with food, or just after a meal. Try taking ropinirole with food if it causes nausea (feeling sick). 
  • Missed dose: If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember. But, if it is nearly time for your next dose, just take the next dose at the right time. Do not take two doses at the same time.
  • Keep taking ropinirole regularly. Do not stop taking ropinirole without talking to your doctor. Stopping ropinirole suddenly may cause fever, fast heartbeat, muscle stiffness, sweating, confusion, and other symptoms.

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 New Zealand Formulary Patient Information
Ropin Medsafe Consumer Information Sheet

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