New Studies Link Dostinex to Serious Heart Ailments. On January 3, 2007 new studies came out linking Dostinex with heart valve disease. A study by Italian researchers found that roughly one-fourth of Parkinson’s patients taking Dostinex had moderate to severe heart valve troubles. An additional study by German doctors established that users of Dostinex were five to seven times more likely to have leaky heart valves than those on other types of Parkinson’s medications. Both studies can be found in the New England Journal of Medicine.
In the Italian study, Dr. Renzo Zanettini and others at the Instituti Clinici di Perfezionamento in Milan obtained echocardiogram images of the hearts of 155 patients taking various Parkinson’s medications and a comparison group of 90 healthy people. Moderate to severe valve problems were seen in 29% those on Dostinex. In the German study, Dr. Rene Schade and associates in Berlin and in Montreal used records from over 11,400 Parkinson’s patients in the United Kingdom. The rate of newly diagnosed leaky valves was increased among Dostinex users.
Dostinex (generic: cabergoline) manufactured by Pfizer Inc., gained approval by the FDA
Dr. Michael Berelowitz, senior vice president of Pfizer, which makes Dostinex, said the company had received fewer than 100 reports of valve problems from the drug, mostly in people with Parkinson’s. The two new reports involve only Parkinson’s. The results should not be applied to patients who take Dostinex for the hormone disorder, because they take far smaller doses of the drug than do patients with Parkinson’s, said Dr. David L. Kleinberg, a professor of medicine and director of the neuroendocrine unit at New York University’s medical school. Many doctors consider it the best drug for the problem. People with Parkinson’s often take doses 20 to 40 times as high.
Dostinex sales in the United States totaled about $88 million in 2005, and about 87,000 prescriptions were written, according to Wolters Kluwer Health, an information company in the Netherlands.
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