Brand names: Requip
Requip helps relieve the signs and symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Caused by a deficit of dopamine (one of the brain's chief chemical messengers), this disorder is marked by progressive muscle stiffness, tremor, and fatigue. Requip is also used to relieve symptoms of restless legs syndrome. It works by stimulating dopamine receptors in the brain, thus promoting better, easier movement.
Requip can be taken with or without levodopa, another drug used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.
Requip is not a cure for Parkinson's disease. However, it does alleviate symptoms of the disease, and it can shorten the "off" periods of immobility that patients on long-term levodopa therapy often begin to experience.
Take 3 doses a day, with or without food. If the drug upsets your stomach, combining it with food may relieve the problem. If you are also taking levodopa, its dosage may be gradually decreased when you start therapy with Requip.
Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Requip.
If Requip gives you an allergic reaction, you will not be able to continue using it.
At the start of Requip therapy and whenever the dose is increased, you face a slightly increased risk of a fainting spell or other symptoms of low blood pressure such as dizziness, nausea, sweating, and light-headedness, particularly when you get up suddenly after sitting or reclining for a prolonged period. To avoid such symptoms, be careful to stand up slowly.
If you are taking Requip to treat Parkinson's disease, you may be at a higher risk for developing skin cancer (melanoma). Be sure to see your doctor regularly for screenings.
There have been some reports of symptoms getting worse during therapy for restless legs syndrome. Contact your doctor if this occurs.
A few patients—especially older ones—also develop hallucinations. Let your doctor know if this occurs. You may have to stop Requip therapy.
Use Requip with caution if you have heart disease. There is also a slight chance of developing respiratory difficulties or problems with your eyesight. If you find it hard to breathe, have any swelling, or develop problems with your vision, alert your doctor at once.
If you are taking Sinemet with Requip, you may experience jerking muscle movements. Tell your doctor. He will need to decrease your dose of Sinemet.
With other Parkinson's medications, a sudden dose reduction has been known to cause high fever, muscle stiffness, and loss of consciousness. Although this has not happened with Requip, be alert for such problems and contact your doctor immediately if they occur.
Requip may cause drowsiness, and some people have reported falling asleep without warning during their daily activities. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how the drug affects you. If you find that Requip makes you sleepy or that you're suddenly falling asleep in the middle of routine activities, tell your doctor; he will probably discontinue the drug.
Requip may also cause darkening of your skin and eye color. Tell your doctor if you notice any change.
If Requip is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either can be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Requip with the following:AlcoholBenzodiazepines such as alprazolamCertain antidepressantsCiprofloxacinDrugs that contain levodopaEstrogen medications such as ethinyl estradiolMetoclopramideTranquilizers
Although the effects of Requip during pregnancy have not been adequately studied in humans, birth defects have occurred in animals. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately.
Requip may inhibit production of breast milk. There is also a possibility that it will appear in breast milk and affect the nursing infant. If Ropinirole hydrochloride is essential to your health, your doctor may advise you to discontinue breastfeeding.
Requip is taken 3 times a day. During the first week of therapy, each dose is 0.25 milligram. During the second week, the amount rises to 0.5 milligram. In the third week, it increases to 0.75 milligram, and in the fourth week reaches 1 milligram (3 milligrams daily). If necessary, your doctor will gradually increase the dosage further, up to a maximum of 24 milligrams per day.
If you need to stop Requip therapy, the doctor will discontinue the drug gradually over a 7-day period, reducing the number of doses from 3 to 2 per day for the first 4 days, then to once a day for the remaining 3 days.
The usual starting dose is 0.25 milligrams taken 1 to 3 hours before bedtime. Depending on your response, the doctor may increase your dose in small increments up to a maximum of 4 milligrams daily.
Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical treatment immediately.