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Prescribed for the Treatment of Parkinson’s disease

Pramipexole is a dopamine agonist. It is prescribed for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD) symptoms including:

  • Stiffness
  • Shakiness of parts of the body
  • Slowed movement
  • Balance problems

It’s used alone or in combination with levodopa in treating PD. It’s also used for the treatment of restless leg syndromes such as:

  • Discomforts in the legs
  • Strong urge to move the legs especially at night.

What condition does Pramipexole treat?

Pramipexole is used for the treatment:

  • Parkinson’s disease symptoms: PD is a brain disorder affecting the part that produces dopamine. Symptoms of PD include shakiness, stiffness, and difficulty maintaining balance.
  • Moderate to severe restless leg syndrome (RLS): RSL is a disorder of the nervous system that causes an unusual urge to move the legs. It’s a type of sleep disorder because it happens or gets worse while at rest. Anyone can get RSL but women and middle-aged people are mostly affected.
  • Bipolar depression: It’s a mental health condition characterized by extreme mood swings, heightened emotion, and depression.

How does Pramipexole work?

Pramipexole is a dopamine agonist that mimics the activity of a substance in the brain known as dopamine.  Dopamine is involved in the transmission of messages between nerve cells for the normal functioning of the body. People with Parkinson’s disease have reduced or absent dopamine in the body which causes the disease symptoms.

As a dopamine agonist, this medicine stimulates the specific receptor site in the brain and produces the same effect as the real dopamine. Restoring the dopamine activity in the brain reduces the severity of symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and restless leg syndromes.

What is the dosage of Pramipexole?

  • Parkinson’s disease: The initial dose is 0.375 mg a day given in three divided doses. Your doctor may increase your dose every five to seven days. The maximum recommended dose is 4.5 mg once a day. The maintenance dose is 1.5 to 4.5 mg a day in three divided doses.
  • Restless leg syndrome: The recommended dose is 0.125 mg once a day. Take it in the evening two or three hours before going to bed. Your doctor may increase your dose every four to seven days if needed. The maximum recommended dose is 0.5 mg once a day to be taken in the evening. The dose for patients with kidney problems should be increased every 14 days.

How to take Pramipexole?

Pramipexole comes in a tablet form to take orally. Your dose is based on your condition, the severity of your condition, and the strength of the medicine. Take it exactly as directed by your physician or as written on the prescription label. Do not take more or less than what is directed. You may take it with or without foods but taking it with foods may help prevent nausea. Do not break, crush, or chew the tablet.

If you are taking this in treating restless leg syndrome, your symptoms may worsen as the treatment continues. It may begin earlier in the afternoon, evening, or even early in the morning. If your symptoms occur at different times of the day call your doctor.

What are the precautions in taking Pramipexole?

  • Pramipexole is highly effective in treating the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease or restless leg syndrome but it can cause extreme drowsiness which can affect your daily activities. You should also know that even though it’s highly effective, it can only treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and restless leg syndrome but it won’t cure the conditions.
  • This tablet can cause a drop in blood pressure and may cause fainting and dizziness. This usually happens at the beginning of the treatment. To minimize the effect, your doctor may start giving you a low dose for three to four weeks.
  • Dizziness and fainting may occur especially when you suddenly get up from a sitting or lying down position. To prevent this from happening, get up slowly.
  • Pramipexole can cause sleepiness. On a rare occasion a sudden onset of sleep without any warning. Exercise caution when driving or performing a potentially hazardous activity. A sudden onset of sleep may happen as late as one year after taking the medicine.
  • Do not stop taking this tablet without telling your doctor. Sudden stop may only worsen your condition. Your doctor may gradually reduce your dose before you stop taking them.
  • Do not use this if you are:
    • Children below 18 years old
    • Pregnant
    • Breastfeeding
    • Allergic to it or any of its ingredients
  • Use with caution in:
    • People with decreased kidney and liver functions
    • Severe disease involving the heart and blood vessels
    • With psychotic illness
  • Some people who took this medication in treating Parkinson’s disease or restless leg syndrome developed an increased interest in shopping or sex, gambling problems, and overeating problems. In case you notice these intense urges or have difficulty controlling them, call your doctor.
  • Before you take Pramipexole tell your doctor if you ever have or have had:
    • Trouble controlling the movement of your muscles
    • Mental illness
    • Low blood pressure
    • Kidney disease
    • Dizziness, fainting
    • Sleep disorder other than restless leg syndrome
  • Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages and CNS medication like antihistamines and sedatives as these can add to the drowsiness effect of the medicine.
  • Some elderly patients may experience hallucinations. Check with your doctor if this will happen.
  • In case of muscle pain, stiffness, unusual weakness, or tiredness, fever and dark-colored urine, call your doctor right away. These can be signs of skeletal muscle breakdown.

Costs of Generic Pramipexole vs. Mirapex

Pramipexole is a cheap generic drug that reduces the severity of Parkinson’s disease and restless leg syndrome symptoms. It’s cheaper than the brand counterpart Mirapex. Pramipexole 1.5 mg cost $1.22 per unit price or $110 for 90 tabs. While the brand name Mirapex costs $1,820.74 for 90 tabs or $20.23 per unit price.