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October 1988

Pleuropulmonary Disease During Bromocriptine Treatment of Parkinson's Disease

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Medicine (Drs McElvaney, Wilcox, and Fleetham), and Pathology (Dr Churg), University Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia.

Arch Intern Med. 1988;148(10):2231-2236. doi:10.1001/archinte.1988.00380100089019

• Pleuropulmonary disease has been observed in eight patients with Parkinson's disease treated with bromocriptine or Its related compound, mesulergine. The pleuropulmonary changes included pleural effusions, pleural thickening, and parenchymal lung disease. The patients developed symptoms from nine months to four years after starting treatment with bromocriptine that varied in dosage from 22 to 50 mg daily, while the patient receiving mesulergine was taking 6 mg daily. No other cause was found for the pleuropulmonary changes. In six patients the medication was discontinued with subsequent clinical, physiologic, and radiologic improvement. In two patients bromocriptine treatment was continued for one to two years, and in one patient there was further physiologic and radiologic progression of the pleuropulmonary changes. These findings suggest a causal relationship between bromocriptine treatment and pleuropulmonary disease. We recommend a chest roentgenogram and pulmonary function evaluation prior to bromocriptine treatment with follow-up studies If the patient develops respiratory symptoms. Physicians prescribing bromocriptine should be aware of this side effect to ensure early recognition and prompt withdrawal of bromocriptine therapy.

(Arch Intern Med 1988;148:2231-2236)