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The Mirapex drug (known generically as pramipexole dihydrochloride), popular in the treatment of Parkinson's disease, has been linked to serious side effects. These Mirapex side effects include an increased risk of compulsive behavior. Specifically, a link has been found between Mirapex and compulsive gambling or other compulsive behavior, including shopping, eating and sexual activity.


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Mirapex Side Effects

Mirapex is used to treat signs and symptoms of idiopathic Parkinson's disease. Specifically, the drug may improve the patient's ability to perform everyday activities and may also reduce the resting tremor.

Since Mirapex was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in 1997, it has been reported that hundreds of users have alleged they developed Mirapex side effects such as compulsive behaviors, including gambling, shopping, addiction and eating disorders. Furthermore, these patients claim they had no prior history of either excessive or compulsive behavior.

Mirapex and Parkinson's Disease

Patients are typically diagnosed with Parkinson's after the age of 50. These patients suffer from a dopamine deficiency in the brain. Low dopamine levels can reduce emotional responses, limiting the ability to experience pleasure and pain, and often resulting in depression or mood changes. Symptoms of Parkinson's include tremors, stiff muscles and joints, poor posture, and a shuffling gait.

Mirapex—a dompamine agonist—is designed to increase the production of dopamine. The medication is licensed and distributed in North America by Pfizer USA, but it is patented and licensed by Boehringer Ingelheim Ltd., of Germany.

Mirapex Compulsive Behavior

According to the Responsible Gambling Council and the Detroit Free Press, 230 North Americans have been in touch with lawyers to discuss legal action in response to this most destructive and unusual side-effect. A Toronto law firm has already filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of Mirapex victims and seeks additional plaintiffs.

Consumers taking Mirapex share similar stories: they allege they experience uncontrollable urges, often resulting in broken marriages, bankruptcy and host of psychological problems including depression and suicide. Many encounter legal problems as a result of their compulsions.

Mirapex Label Change

Due to these reports, the Mirapex package insert was changed to state adverse events include "accidents (including fall), compulsive behaviors (sexual and pathological gambling), fatigue, hallucinations (all kinds), headache, hypotension, libido disorder, syncope, and blackouts."

A 2003 report in the journal Neurology covered the work of researchers at the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Research Center in Arizona. They surveyed 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. Since Mirapex is prescribed to millions of patients, this means that thousands of users may be experiencing these compulsions.

Meanwhile, a July 2005 issue of Archives of Neurology published a study by the Mayo Clinic that described the experiences of Parkinson's patients who developed compulsive behavior while taking Mirapex. One such description involved a 68-year-old man who lost more than $200,000 at casinos over a six-month period. Another description involved a 41-year-old computer programmer who lost $5,000 on Internet gambling in a few months.

According to reports, the compulsive behavior normally subsides once Mirapex is discontinued.

Mirapex Lawsuit

In 2008, a Mirapex lawsuit went to court, resulting in an $8.2 million award to the plaintiff. The lawsuit alleged Mirapex caused the plaintiff to compulsively gamble, resulting in losses of $260,000. Gary Charbonneua, the plaintiff, alleged that Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim knew that Mirapex had the potential to cause compulsive behavior but did not issue adequate warnings.

Register Your Mirapex Case

If you or a loved one has suffered from compulsive behaviors while taking Mirapex, you may qualify for damages or remedies that may be awarded in a possible class action lawsuit. Please click the link below to submit your Mirapex complaint.

Last updated on Aug-20-10


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