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What is ropinirole?

Ropinirole is a prescription drug. It comes in the form of immediate-release and extended-release tablets you take by mouth. Extended-release drugs are released into the bloodstream slowly over time. Immediate-release drugs take effect more quickly.

Ropinirole is available as the brand-name drugs Requip and Requip XL. It’s also available as generic drugs. Generic drugs usually cost less than the brand-name version. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name drug.

This drug may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other medications.

Why it's used

Ropinirole is used to treat certain movement disorders. These include Parkinson’s disease. They also include restless legs syndrome that’s moderate to severe.

How it works

Ropinirole belongs to a class of drugs called dopamine agonists. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

Ropinirole has the same effect in your central nervous system as the natural chemical dopamine. Dopamine is needed by the body to help control movement. With conditions such as Parkinson’s, the cells that produce dopamine die. Ropinirole works by acting in place of the missing dopamine.

Ropinirole side effects

Ropinirole oral tablet can cause drowsiness for several hours after you take it. It can make you fall asleep suddenly during normal daily activities. Until you know how this drug affects you, avoid activities that could be dangerous if you fall asleep. These include driving or using machinery.

Ropinirole can also cause other side effects.

More common side effects

The more common side effects that can occur with use of ropinirole include:

  • dizziness and fainting
  • seeing or hearing things that are not real (hallucinations)
  • headache
  • flushing (warm, red skin)
  • dry mouth
  • sweating
  • chest pain
  • edema (swelling)
  • high blood pressure
  • low blood pressure, which can cause dizziness, sweating, or fainting
  • dyskinesia (abnormal movement)
  • heartburn
  • nausea and vomiting
  • gas
  • heart palpitations
  • temporary memory loss
  • confusion
  • trouble concentrating
  • tiredness and yawning
  • increased infections (with symptoms such as fever or aches)
  • vision problems (such as blurry vision or double vision)

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.