Investigation: Secret Side EffectsMay 21, 2006 | www.tampabaylive.com
What's more bizarre is that these drugs are used to treat many common ailments and you might be taking them.
What if you couldn't stop eating, longed for sex 24/7 or couldn't wait to gamble away your life savings.
Stories of strangers all over the country and each unaware they were linked by a common bond.
A pill they thought would help they say ultimately drove them to self-destruction.
A pill you may have in your medicine cabinet.
Fifteen years ago, 59-year old Brian Hearn was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
In 1997, drugs like it came on the market and the drugs worked.
What patients don't know is that the drugs may have been working overtime and over-stimulating part of their brain.
Hearn spent night after night gambling online, something he says he'd never done.
He almost lost his home and marriage.
Luckily, he mentioned the gambling, and the fact that he lost a quarter of a million dollars, to his doctor.
Almost immediately, they reduced his Mirapex.
Hearn says it was like turning a light switch to solve his problem.
And Brian is not alone.
In Texas, Max Wells says he gambled away $14 million on this class of drug.
He says his libido went out of control, contributing to the failure of his marriage.
In Philadelphia, Robert Seely killed himself and his wife.
A lawsuit blames an elevated dosage of Mirapex.
A doctor at the Mayo Clinic was one of the first to discover the connection between these drugs and the obsessive compulsive behavior.
While Mirapex is only FDA approved for Parkinson's, there's a trend experts say that could lead to many more victims.
Doctors are prescribing it for everything from depression to sleep disorders.
Reports have existed for years.
We discovered nearly a dozen.
Some doctors and others say the pharmaceutical companies never translated these reports to adequate warnings.
Experts say 100,000 or more could suffer these devastating obsessive compulsive effects.
Countless lawsuits blame the drug makers.
The makers recently strengthened the language on package inserts and tell us they are committed to patient safety, but victims say it's not enough.
They want bold labels right on the bottles.
The makers of Requip say there is no scientific connection between the OCD behavior and their drug.