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Piribedil – Effect, Application & Risks


The drug Piribedil belongs to the group of dopamine agonists and is used to treat Parkinson’s disease , whereby the therapy aims to alleviate the symptoms of the disease and stop further progression.

What is Piribedil?

Piribedil has been used since the 1970s, first in ophthalmology and then in Parkinson’s disease. It has also been used to treat vascular disease and mild cognitive impairment .

Piribedil has been on the market in Germany since 2007 and is used here to treat Parkinson’s disease. Both monotherapy and combination therapy with levodopa are possible. With the help of Piribedil, the mobility of the patients should be improved.

Pharmacological action

Patients with Parkinson’s disease suffer from a lack of dopamine, a messenger substance that plays an important role in the execution of movement sequences. Those affected therefore suffer from tremor ( shaking ), rigor (muscle rigidity) and akinesia ( movement disorders ).

Patients are given dopamine in the form of L-Dopa so that the symptoms can be alleviated and the progression of the disease slowed down . However, this is converted into metabolites by different enzymes , so that an inhibition of the enzymes is necessary.

In addition, the dopamine receptors (D2) must also be stimulated by means of agonists . One such agonist is Piribedil. The drug can cross the blood-brain barrier and then subsequently bind to the binding sites for dopamine. There, the drug can trigger the same reactions as dopamine.

Piribedil is mainly used in the early or advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease. In part, Piribedil also acts as an antagonist to acetylcholine .

Medical Application & Use

With the help of Piribedil, Parkinson’s disease is treated. The drug is either combined with levodopa or used alone. In the case of combination treatment, both drugs are given together from the start, or Piribedil is added some time later.

Piribedil can be absorbed and distributed very quickly in the gastrointestinal tract . Because the drug binds only moderately to plasma proteins , the interactions that may occur due to protein binding are relatively minor.

The drug is preferably administered to younger patients, with the aim of therapy being to delay motor complications such as effect fluctuations or dyskinesia.

Typically, 3 to 5 tablets (150mg to 250mg) per day are taken to treat Parkinson’s disease. These are swallowed whole with a little water after meals. If the drug is suddenly discontinued, a neuroleptic malignant syndrome may occur. For this reason, the dose should be reduced slowly when the drug is discontinued.

Risks & side effects

In general, Piribedil has very few side effects. If these nevertheless occur, they depend on the administered dose. If the treatment is stopped, the side effects also disappear . Piribedil should not be used in the case of: cardiovascular shock , hypersensitivity to the drug and an acute myocardial infarction .

In addition, Piribedil should not be taken in combination with neuroleptics , as this can intensify psychotic disorders . It is also not recommended to take it while you are breastfeeding or pregnant .

Side effects usually only occur at the beginning of treatment. These include:

Gastrointestinal symptoms can be reduced if the dose is gradually increased at the beginning of treatment. In addition, therapy with Piribedil can lead to drowsiness , and sudden sleep attacks occur very rarely. Therefore, patients should not drive or engage in activities that could injure themselves or others.

An overdose is unlikely when taking Piribedil. Should this nevertheless occur, the following symptoms occur: unstable blood pressure ( hypotension or hypertension ) and/or gastrointestinal complaints (vomiting, nausea).

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.