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Nicergoline Structure.png
Clinical data
AHFS/Drugs.comInternational Drug Names
  • Not recommended
Routes of
Oral, IM, IV
ATC code
Legal status
Legal status
Pharmacokinetic data
Protein binding>90%
MetabolismExtensive first-pass metabolism
Elimination half-life13–20 hours
CAS Number
PubChem CID
E number{{#property:P628}}
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Chemical and physical data
Molar mass484.386 g/mol
3D model (JSmol)

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


Nicergoline (INN, marketed under the trade name Sermion) is an ergot derivative used to treat senile dementia and other disorders with vascular origins. It has been found to increase mental agility and enhance clarity and perception. It decreases vascular resistance and increases arterial blood flow in the brain, improving the utilization of oxygen and glucose by brain cells. It has similar vasoactive properties in other areas of the body, particularly the lungs.

It is used for vascular disorders such as cerebral thrombosis and atherosclerosis, arterial blockages in the limbs, Raynaud's disease, vascular migraines, and retinopathy.

Nicergoline has been registered in over fifty countries and has been used for more than three decades for the treatment of cognitive, affective, and behavioral disorders of older people.[1]

Clinical Uses

Nicerogline is used in the following cases:

  • Acute and chronic cerebral metabolic-vascular disorders (cerebral arteriosclerosis, thrombosis and cerebral embolism, transitory cerebral ischaemia). Acute and chronic peripheral metabolic-vascular disorders (organic and functional arteriopathies of the limbs), Raynaud’s disease and other syndromes caused by altered peripheral irrigation.
  • Migraines of vascular origin
  • Coadjutant therapy in clinical situations accompanied by platelet hyper-aggregability, arterial tension.
  • Corio-retinal vascular disorders: diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and retinal angiosclerosis
  • Oto-vestibular problems of a vascular nature: dizziness, auditory hallucinations, hypoacusis.

Dosages for known conditions are usually administered at 5–10 mg three times a day, however anti-aging preventative purposes may want to consider 5 mg once or twice a day more adequate.[2]


Persons suffering from acute bleeding, myocardial infarction (heart conditions), hypertension, bradycardia or using alpha or beta receptor agonists should consult with their physician before use. Although toxicology studies have not shown nicergoline to have any teratogenic effect, the use of this medicine during pregnancy should be limited to those cases where it is absolutely necessary.

On 28 June 2013 the European Medicines Agency recommended restricting the use of medicines containing ergot derivatives, including Nicergoline. They stated that "these medicines should no longer be used to treat several conditions involving blood circulation problems or problems with memory and sensation, or to prevent migraine headaches, since the risks are greater than the benefits in these indications. This is based on a review of data showing an increased risk of fibrosis (formation of excess connective tissue that can damage organs and body structures) and ergotism (symptoms of ergot poisoning, such as spasms and obstructed blood circulation) with these medicines." (

Nicergoline is considered unsafe in porphyria.[3]

Adverse Effects

The side effects of nicergoline are usually limited to nausea, hot flushes, mild gastric upset, hypotension and dizziness.[3] At high dosages bradycardia, increased appetite, agitation, diarrhea and perspiration have been known to occur. A single case of acute interstitial nephritis has been reported.[4]


Nicergoline is known to enhance the cardiac depressive effects of propranolol.[3] At high dosages, it is advisable to seek one’s physician's guidance if combining with potent vasodilators such as bromocriptine, Gingko biloba, picamilon, vinpocetine or xantinol nicotinate.

Mechanism of Action

Nicergoline is an ergot alkaloid derivative that acts as a potent and selective alpha-1A adrenergic receptor antagonist.[5] The IC50 of nicergoline in vitro has been reported to be 0.2 nM.[6] The primary action of nicergoline is to increase arterial blood flow by vasodilation. Furthermore, it is known that nicergoline inhibits platelet aggregation. Studies have shown that nicergoline also increases nerve growth factor in the aged brain.


  1. Fioravanti M, Flicker L (2001). "Efficacy of nicergoline in dementia and other age associated forms of cognitive impairment". Cochrane Database Syst Rev (4): CD003159. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD003159. PMID 11687175.
  2. Nicergoline drug insert, Pharmacia & Upjohn, October 2000
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Sweetman SC, ed. (2009). "Supplementary drugs and other substances". Martindale: The complete drug reference (36th ed.). London: Pharmaceutical Press. p. 2352. ISBN 978-0-85369-840-1.
  4. Kim MJ, Chang JH, Lee SK; et al. (2002). "Acute interstitial nephritis due to nicergoline (Sermion)". Nephron. 92 (3): 676–9. doi:10.1159/000064096. PMID 12372954.
  5. Alvarez-Guerra M, Bertholom N, Garay RP (1999). "Selective blockade by nicergoline of vascular responses elicited by stimulation of alpha 1A-adrenoceptor subtype in the rat". Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 13 (1): 50–8. PMID 10027088.
  6. Moretti A, Carfagna N, Caccia C, Carpentieri M (1988). "Effect of ergolines on neurotransmitter systems in the rat brain". Arch Int Pharmacodyn Ther. 294: 33–45. PMID 2906797.

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