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NZ Formulary

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Apomorphine (injection)


What does it do?

Apomorphine is used to treat Parkinson’s disease. It acts like a chemical in your brain called dopamine.

How is it given?

Apomorphine is usually given as an injection or infusion under the skin.

What if you forget a dose?

If it is nearly time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and inject your next dose at the usual time. Otherwise, inject the missed dose as soon as you remember. Do not inject two doses at the same time.

Can you take other medicines?

Tell your pharmacist or doctor about all medicines or treatments that you may be taking, including vitamins, herbal products or recreational drugs.

What side effects might you notice?

Side EffectsRecommended action

Hallucinations, confusion, unusual behaviour or thinking


Drowsiness, yawning, falling asleep without warning

Unusual urges (e.g. gambling, eating, spending, sex)

Tell your doctor

Strange or uncontrolled movements


Nausea, vomiting

Unexpected erections

Pain, tenderness or redness at injection site

Tell your doctor if troublesome

Lightheaded or dizzy after standing up

Stand up slowly. If it continues, or is severe, tell your doctor

If you notice any other effects, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Other information:

  • Tell your doctor if you have heart or mental health problems, low blood pressure, asthma, or an allergy to sodium metabisulfite.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • Your doctor may do a heart test (ECG) before you start and while you are taking apomorphine.
  • You will need regular blood tests while taking apomorphine to check if it is causing problems with your blood.
  • Apomorphine can impair your ability to do tasks such as driving or using machines. Alcohol makes this worse. Discuss your risk with your health professional. (search NZTA - Are you safe to drive?)
  • If apomorphine is spilt, it can leave a permanent dark green mark. Immediately using stain removers may help avoid this.
  • Store apomorphine as directed. Check the expiry before use. If you have any apomorphine leftover which has passed its expiry date, take it back to your pharmacy.
  • Do not stop taking apomorphine without talking to your doctor first.

This leaflet contains important, but not all, information about this medicine.

Prepared by the PILs Committee at Christchurch Hospital, Canterbury District Health Board, New Zealand. January 2020

For more general information about this sheet annd its contents, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

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About My Medicines

My Medicines Patient Information Leaflets (PILs) contain important, but not all, information about the medicines they describe.

For more information about the sheets, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

My Medicines is developed by a team at the Canterbury District Health Board. Our team is made up of doctors, pharmacists, and a non-medical person to help us keep to plain language. We also discuss our information with specialist health professionals or groups when needed