Sexual Functioning in Hyperprolactinemic Patients Treated With Cabergoline or Bromocriptine

Am J Ther. Jul/Aug 2019;26(4):e433-e440. doi: 10.1097/MJT.0000000000000777.


Background: Elevated prolactin levels were found to be associated with impaired sexuality.

Study question: The aim of the study was to compare the impact of bromocriptine and cabergoline on sexual functioning in both genders.

Study design: The study enrolled 39 young women and 18 young men receiving bromocriptine treatment. In 19 women and 8 men, because of poor tolerance, bromocriptine was replaced with cabergoline, whereas the remaining ones continued bromocriptine treatment.

Measures and outcomes: Apart from measuring serum levels of prolactin and insulin sensitivity, at the beginning of the study and 16 weeks later, all included patients completed questionnaires evaluating female or male sexual functioning (Female Sexual Function Index; International Index of Erectile Function-15).

Results: Irrespective of the gender, posttreatment prolactin levels were lower in cabergoline-treated patients than in bromocriptine-treated patients. Baseline sexual functioning did not differ between patients well and poorly tolerating bromocriptine treatment. Neither in men nor in women receiving bromocriptine, posttreatment sexual functioning differed from baseline one. In both genders, cabergoline improved sexual desire. Moreover, in men, the drug improved erectile and orgasmic function, whereas in women, it improved sexual arousal. All these effects correlated with the impact of this drug on prolactin levels and on insulin sensitivity.

Conclusions: Cabergoline is superior to bromocriptine in affecting male and female sexual functioning and should be preferred in hyperprolactinemic men and women with sexual dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bromocriptine / administration & dosage*
  • Cabergoline / administration & dosage*
  • Dopamine Agonists / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperprolactinemia / blood
  • Hyperprolactinemia / complications
  • Hyperprolactinemia / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Orgasm / drug effects
  • Orgasm / physiology
  • Penile Erection / drug effects
  • Penile Erection / physiology
  • Prolactin / blood
  • Prolactin / physiology
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / blood
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / etiology
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / prevention & control*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Dopamine Agonists
  • Bromocriptine
  • Prolactin
  • Cabergoline