Pramipexole dihydrochloride (Mirapex) is prescribed for the treatment of Parkinson's. However, one of the Mirapex side effects that has proven troubling for many people is the link to compulsive behavior. Patients have reported compulsive shopping, gambling and even sexual behaviors while on a Mirapex regimen for Parkinson's.
In the case of Gazal, he was started on Mirapex in 2002 after a formal diagnosis of Parkinson's by doctors who prescribed Mirapex to treat his symptoms. This was five years after Mirapex was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1997, but three years before the first reports of Mirapex and compulsive gambling surfaced in 2005.
By then, according to the September 24th edition of Health Law Week, Gazal had noticed a change in his gambling habits. During his first year on Mirapex, Gazal claims his losses increased 10 to 15 percent—and while he made no mention of this during a 2003 visit to the Baylor College of Medicine's Parkinson's Disease Center and Movement Disorders Clinic, where he was originally diagnosed, he did report an increase in compulsiveness and increased gambling upon a return visit to the clinic in 2005.
Gazal reported to doctors that he could not "leave the table." He was subsequently put on a lower dose at the conclusion of his visit, on April 8, 2005.
Three months later, on July 11th, the Mayo Clinic would publish its study suggesting a link between Mirapex and compulsive gambling. According to court documents, Gazal reportedly became aware of the Mirapex link to compulsive gambling in late 2005.
However, rather than bring a lawsuit against the manufacturers of Mirapex, Gazal reportedly corresponded with two casinos in a bid for their support to deny his entrance to the facilities, due to the fear his gambling habit had worsened. "[Due] to negative side effects from my serious medication," Gazal is reported to have written, "I am unable to be in control of my gambling, which has resulted in huge losses in the past few years."
It appears certain that Gazal was suffering from Mirapex compulsive behavior. However, the plaintiff waited until June 2009 to bring an action in Texas state court against Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc., Pfizer Inc., Pharmacia Corp., and Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. LLC, claiming over $20 million in gambling losses. Following the dismissal of a non-diverse defendant, the case was removed to federal court before the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transferred the action to a Minnesota district court as part of the Mirapex Products Liability Multidistrict Litigation.
READ MORE MIRAPEX COMPULSIVE GAMBLING LEGAL NEWS
The plaintiff admitted that he first became aware of his gambling problem in 2002 and not later than 2003. Gazal also acknowledged that he became aware of a possible link between Mirapex and Mirapex compulsion
The Court noted that the plaintiff could have brought his action as early as 2005 and no later than 2006, rather than waiting until 2009. By then, the statute of limitations pre-empted his capacity to bring the matter to trial.
Anyone suffering from alleged Mirapex behaviors would thus be well served to consult a qualified Mirapex lawyer in a timely fashion.