Prevalence of Nausea and Vomiting in Adults Using Ropinirole: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Dig Dis Sci. 2018 Mar;63(3):687-693. doi: 10.1007/s10620-018-4937-3. Epub 2018 Jan 30.


Background: Nausea and vomiting are commonly associated with medication use. Dopaminergic agonists have been associated with these symptoms, but their impact in patients without Parkinson's disease, such as those with restless legs syndrome (RLS), is not well characterized.

Aims: We sought to determine whether the non-ergoline dopamine agonist ropinirole is associated with nausea and vomiting in adults with RLS.

Methods: We conducted a systematic review using PUBMED, EMBASE, and clinical trial databases to identify placebo-controlled clinical trials of ropinirole for RLS treatment. We extracted data including dosing schedule and the proportion of patients reporting nausea and/or vomiting. We also determined hazard ratios (HR) using a random effects proportional hazard model.

Results: We extracted data from a pool of 13 studies. The prevalence of nausea in the ropinirole-treated RLS group (RLS-R; N = 1528) was 37.2% compared to 9.4% in the placebo-treated RLS group (RLS-P; N = 1395) (p < 0.0001). The prevalence of vomiting in the RLS-R group was 10.9% compared to 2.6% in the RLS-P group (p < 0.0001). Ropinirole use was associated with a higher risk of reporting nausea (HR 5.924 [4.410-7.959], p < 0.001) and experiencing vomiting (HR 4.628 [3.035-7.057], p < 0.0001). Nausea and vomiting represented nearly 50% of all adverse events reported.

Conclusions: Nausea and vomiting are quite common side effects in those using ropinirole for RLS. As RLS is more widely recognized and treated; the prevalence of ropinirole-induced nausea and vomiting could grow substantially. Ropinirole use should be considered as a cause of chronic nausea and vomiting.

Keywords: Drug-related side effects and adverse reactions; Meta-analysis; Nausea; Review; Systematic; Vomiting.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Dopamine Agonists / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Indoles / adverse effects*
  • Nausea / chemically induced*
  • Nausea / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Vomiting / chemically induced*
  • Vomiting / epidemiology*


  • Dopamine Agonists
  • Indoles
  • ropinirole