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Diabetes Obes Metab. 2012 Apr;14(4):335-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-1326.2011.01534.x. Epub 2011 Dec 27.

Randomized pilot study of cabergoline, a dopamine receptor agonist: effects on body weight and glucose tolerance in obese adults.

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Department of Medicine, New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York, NY, USA.



Dopaminergic hypofunction and hyperprolactinaemia have been implicated in the pathogenesis of obesity and glucose intolerance. The aim of this pilot study was to determine the efficacy of cabergoline, a dopamine receptor agonist, on body weight and glucose tolerance in obese non-diabetic persons with normal plasma prolactin levels.


This 16-week double blind, placebo-controlled pilot study randomized non-diabetic obese adults (body mass index 30-42 kg/m(2) ) to placebo or cabergoline (0.25 mg twice weekly for 4 weeks followed by 0.5 mg twice weekly for the next 12 weeks). Of 40 subjects enrolled, 29 completed 16 weeks: 16 randomized to placebo and 13 to cabergoline. All subjects were counselled on a 500 kcal/day calorie deficit diet. A 75-g oral glucose tolerance test was performed at baseline and at 16 weeks.


As expected, prolactin levels decreased after cabergoline (p < 0.001). Weight loss was similar after placebo compared with cabergoline treatment: 1.0 vs. 1.2% body weight, respectively. Fasting glucose levels did not differ between groups after treatment, however, 90-min postprandial glucose and insulin decreased in the cabergoline group only (p = 0.029). HOMA-IR (homeostasis model of assessment) increased by 40% after placebo and 1.5% after cabergoline treatment.


This pilot study suggests that cabergoline therapy may improve glucose tolerance independent of weight loss, however, a larger, longer term study of dopamine receptor agonist therapy in obese individuals is warranted to confirm this finding.

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