The lawyers and attorneys at our firm are offering free case evaluations to victims of Mirapex side effects. Mirapex, which is used to treat Parkinson’s Disease and restless leg syndrome, has been associated with compulsive behavior, including gambling addiction. If you or someone you know developed a gambling addiction or some other compulsive behavior after starting treatment with this drug, we urge you to contact one of our Mirapex side effect lawyers as soon as possible to protect your legal rights.
Mirapex was approved by the FDA in 1997 and by the end of 2004 accounted for almost 18 percent of prescriptions written to treat Parkinson’s disease. Since its approval, hundreds of Mirapex users have claimed that they developed compulsive behaviors. In addition to gambling addictions, people treated with Mirapex have suffered from various impulse control disorders such as compulsive shopping, sexual addictions and eating disorders.
In virtually every alleged case, the victims of Mirapex side effects had no prior history of obsessive or compulsive behaviors. And in most cases, the compulsive behavior subsides once Mirapex is discontinued. The maker of Mirapex has denied that there is an association between these behaviors and this medication, but our Mirapex side effect lawyers are aware of numerous studies that show otherwise.
Parkinson’s Disease occurs because of a lack of the neurotransmitter dopamine in certain areas of the brain. Mirapex is a dopamine agonist and works by mimicking the effects of this chemical. As such, dopamine helps people control their movements and increases feelings of happiness and satisfaction. However, dopamine is also known to produce a rush in the brain of people who are anticipating a reward or excitement. Many experts believe that such a biochemical reaction is behind the reports of compulsive behavior linked to Mirapex.
It is known that Boehringer Ingelheim and Pfizer received reports linking the drug to compulsive behavior during clinical trials conducted in the 1990s, and received additional reports of patients developing gambling addictions after it came on the market. But it wasn’t until 2005 – eight years after its introduction – that information about compulsive behavior was finally added to the Mirapex label. The companies’ delay in warning patients about the dangers posed by this drug resulted in many ruined lives. The Mirapex side effect lawyers at our firm are committed to making sure Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim are held accountable for this negligence.
Studies Link Mirapex to Gambling Addiction, Compulsive Behavior
Despite a growing mountain of evidence linking this drug to various impulse control disorders, the makers of Mirapex have refused to acknowledge its link to gambling addiction and other problems. However, our Mirapex side effect lawyers are aware of several studies that do in fact show a connection. These studies prove that Mirapex can cause neurological changes that put patients at risk for gambling addictions and other compulsive behaviors.
One of the first studies that linked gambling addiction to Mirapex was published in a 2003 issue of the journal Neurology. Researchers at the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Research Center at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Arizona monitored 1,800 Parkinson’s patients over a one year period and determined that of the 529 patients in the study who took Mirapex, eight developed gambling addictions. For most patients, the gambling behavior improved after they stopped taking Mirapex.
In a July 2005 Mayo Clinic researchers reported in the Archives of Neurology more documented behavior that supported earlier observations linking dopamine agonist drugs with gambling addiction and compulsive behaviors. The report detailed 11 Parkinson’s patients who developed gambling problems while taking Mirapex or similar drugs between 2002 and 2004. After the study’s completion, the Mayo clinic researchers identified 14 additional patients with the problem.
In June 2008, results from the largest study ever to investigate the connection between compulsive behavior and dopamine agonists like Mirapex was presented at the International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders conference in Chicago. The study looked at more than 3,000 patients from 46 medical centers in the United States and Canada, and found that Parkinson’s patients on these medications were nearly three times more likely to have at least one impulse-control disorder compared with patients receiving other treatments. The study found that more than 13 percent of patients taking dopamine agonists suffered from at least one of four serious behavioral addictions.
The 2008 dopamine agonist study raised serious concerns in the medical community. Dr. Eric Ahlskog, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic who has treated Parkinson’s patients for 25 years, told The Chicago Tribune that he no longer is comfortable starting patients on dopamine agonists after three patients in his practice developed significant gambling and sexual problems. Other doctors told the Tribune that while they still treat patients with dopamine agonists, they are using smaller doses. Many are also now asking the patients they treat with the drugs and their families about compulsive behaviors as part of routine patient checkups.
The impulse control problems experienced by Mirapex users have resulted in bankruptcies, broken marriages, depression and even suicide. As a result, many have filed lawsuits against Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim in an attempt to hold these companies accountable for marketing a dangerous drug, and to regain some sense of control over their lives. Currently, more than 300 such lawsuits are scheduled to go to trail in the Mirapex multidistrict litigation in the US District Court in Minneapolis.
In the summer of 2008, the first verdict was reached in one of these Mirapex lawsuits. This lawsuit was considered a bellwether case, in that lawyers believed they could gauge the prospects of other Mirapex claims by the success or failure of this initial lawsuit. A verdict was reached in the case in August 2008, with the jury awarding the plaintiff $8.2 million.
The plaintiff in the lawsuit was typical of many Mirapex victims. He began taking Mirapex in December 1997, and suffered from a gambling addiction from March 2002 to February 2006. In that period of time, he gambled away $260,000. The plaintiff not only claimed that Mirapex caused his gambling problem, but that the drug’s makers, Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim, knew about its potential to cause compulsive behavior, but did not issue any warnings, or take steps to investigate the true scope of the problem. The federal jury agreed with the plaintiff, and awarded him all of his gambling losses, along with $7.8 million in punitive damages.
In light of this case, the prospects that other Mirapex lawsuits will be decided in favor of plaintiffs are extremely good. The Mirapex side effects lawyers at our firm have been able to achieve excellent results for victims of other defective drugs, and we are committed to making sure those whose lives have been impacted by Mirapex impulse control disorders receive the compensation they deserve.
Help for Victims Affects By Mirapex
If you or someone you love developed a gambling addiction or some other compulsive behavior after starting treatment with Mirapex, you have valuable legal rights. Please fill out our online form, or call 1-800 YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) to speak with an experienced Mirapex side effects lawyer at our firm.