drugs causing raised prolactin

Last reviewed 01/2018

The main drugs which induce hyperprolactinaemia are:

  • major tranquilisers - block dopamine binding sites
  • metoclopramide - block dopamine binding sites
  • tricyclic antidepressants - block catecholamine re-uptake
  • reserpine - depletes catecholamines
  • methyl-dopa - blocks conversion of tyrosine to dihydroxyphenylalanine and dopamine
  • oral contraceptives - promote the synthesis and storage of prolactin
  • bendrofluazide, omeprazole, ranitidine, cimetidine and famotidine have occasionally been reported to cause hyperprolactinaemia

Drug-induced increases in serum prolactin do not generally lead to levels above 2500 mU/L; however occasionally levels up to 6000 mU/L have been observed (1).

In cases of suspected drug-induced hyperoprolactinaemia where very high levels of prolactin are seen (over 2500 mU/L) then detailed physical examination (including visual fields), pituitary imaging and measurement of pituitary hormone levels are indicated.


  • (1) Prescribers' Journal (2000), 40 (2), 157-168.