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.
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.
Winnipeg, Canada A Canadian woman who claimed Mirapex side effects caused her to drive drunk and seriously injure a 29-year-old street cleaner recently avoided jail time, the Winnipeg Free Press reports [READ MORE]
Washington, DC The stories are heartbreaking—the pain flowing from the pens and keyboards of real people who have been stung by Mirapex gambling. Pramipexole is indicated for the treatment of restless leg syndrome (RLS) and Parkinson's. A diagnosis of Parkinson's is bad enough. However, the words of Mirapex patients who have left comments with askapatient.com are compelling [READ MORE]
Fall River, MA A United Way director in Fall River, Massachusetts, takes a generic form of the drug Mirapex to treat his Parkinson's disease and remains optimistic, even calling himself fortunate, WickedLocal.com reports [READ MORE]
I took part in the Mirapex class action suit due to RLS. During my years of using Mirapex... more then 20 years, I lost so much. It was totally out of character for me. I lost $150.000 + and when the settlement was finally reached, I ended up with $4700. This was very upsetting as I had submitted all my files of loss to Thomson & Rogers throughout the years.
I asked the lawyers why my settlement was so low and the response I received was, the judge said how do we know that she/me did not spend the money she lost on a steak dinner.
In my opinion, the only one who receives money from a class action suit are the lawyers.
Posted by New Orleans
I had been taking MIrapex for 13 years for restless legs. Soon after beginning taking Mirapex, I began exhibiting compulsive behaviors which were totally uncharacteristic of me. These behaviors included compulsive internet chatting of a sexual nature. Prior to that time, I had never been interested in pornography, magazines featuring nudes or semi-nudes or strip clubs. After about 12 years I developed severe edema in my legs and feet. My doctors were baffled by the edema until my cardiologist read that edema could be caused by Mirapex. I was taken off the Mirapex and put on Gabapentin and my edema disappeared quickly. The compulsive behaviors continued however, until I was arrested in May for supposedly having inappropriate chats with a 15 year old girl. Subsequent to my arrest my cardiologist did some more research on Mirapex and found that my behaviors are consistent with the now reported side effects of Mirapex. Other compulsive behaviors I exhibited included impulse purchases such as a 33’ cabin cruiser and allowing myself to fall for a couple of internet scams. In addition to the edema and compulsive behaviors, I would also fall suddenly fall asleep at the worst of times such as in important meetings and at my desk at work; this resulted in my losing a $70,000/year position as the director of a local city department. I’m now a 70 year old unemployable professional. My reputation has been destroyed and my of 47 years marriage and my relationship with my children has been severely damaged. Financially, I had to borrow $25,000 to cover legal fees, spent over $4,000 for a battery of psychological tests and I may lose my house and have to declare bankruptcy.
Posted by Ontario
Documented compulsive gambling linked to Mirapex. Financial and material losses. Low self-esteem. Homeless. I am on long term disability. Suicide attempt and thoughts. Follow-up by psychiatrist.
Posted by Florida
I became a compulsive buyer, unable to pass a Thrift store, buying things on line and anywhere. I ended up with 46 pairs of mostly hi-end golf shoes (5 pairs of shoes worn by Payne Stewart that retail for @$500) knee high and regular argyle socks, @100 sweater vests, 50 pairs of dress shoes, over 200 golf polo shirts, 3,000 golf clubs, 40 golf bags, and other things. Always wore expensive slacks, $70-$150 golf polo, argyle socks and knee highs when I wore golf knickers which then "REQUIRED" wing tip golf shoes and wing tip or fancy shoes. Got so bad that I actually bought the same shoes off 2 different sites on the same day. Went thru over $50,000. After reading about this side effect, I quit taking Mirapex and the compulsions were gone in 2 weeks, but I can't fit all the things I bought into my house.
Posted by North Dakota
The compulsive side effects of mirapex ruined my marriage, my career, and my ability to be a functional part of society. It left my 4 young daughters to be raised by a single parent, not understanding any of it because all my their mother could think of to tell them for a reason is "because Daddy is sick". It has left me with no value and no pride.
Posted by Texas
First took Requip and gambling began. Monetary losses over $20,000. Dr. changed me to Mirapex. Gambling became totally out of control. The very worst is not the money. My marriage is now in question as well as my relationship with my daughter.
Posted by Florida
Bankruptcy times two, three years behind on taxes, overdrawn checking constant, behind on bills, foreclosure, is there anything else that can happen (yes, repo on my car).
Posted by Louisiana
Using Mirapex has ruined my life. I lost wife, retirement, condos, everything I had. I am now off of Mirapex and life is improving.
Posted by Oregon
I have lost a substantial amount of money, lost my job, unable to get a job due to my poor credit. Destroying my relationship with my family.
Posted by Arizona
I am anxious all the time, I am afraid of getting caught in a lie by all of my family. I have lived near casinos for 20 years and until I started taking Mirapex had only been to the casino a handful of times. I don't know how much money I have lost because I am so afraid to look. I can't stop thinking about going and I don't know if I should stop my medicine or not because no one has ever talked to me about this. It is the only medicine that works for my extreme RLS. I have chronic illness and take several meds, but this didn't start until I started the Mirapex. I had no idea this was the cause until I read about the gambling problem recently.
Posted by New York
I liquidated over $200,000 of savings and investments, created over $200,000 of credit card debt and caused the divorce of my marriage. I am only 33 years old!
Posted by Alabama
I started Mirapex 2.5 years ago. At 51 I have ALWAYS been known as an extremely frugal person by everyone that knows me. In the last 2 years I have racked up over $150K in debt due to gambling and spending. This is totally out of character for me and came close to ruining my marriage.
Posted by Montana
I have had to file a legal separation to save our marital assets. He was spending money like crazy, not paying bills on time, he may even be gambling - I do not know. I am unemployed and I am terrified about the future. He is a medical professional and could lose his job because of his sexual addiction. I wrote the company a letter of complaint that explains everything and would like to send it to whomever will help me.
Posted by Louisiana
Gambling since taking mirapex has ruined me financially, I have lost my home and am now in danger of losing my car, without which I won't be able to keep my job. I haven't been a gambler all my life until taking this drug.
Posted by Washington
I was a successful businesswoman, earning over $100,000 a year. We were on track to rebuild our home. I now realize that Mirapex took its toll resulting in the threat of foreclosure and declaring bankruptcy. My parents tried to help out by getting a very large mortgage on their house and are now facing losing their house.
Posted by Illinois
*sold family home at a loss
*daughter dropped out of school losing one years tuition and board.
* family members had to go to counseling
*created mental anguish for all family members
Posted by New Mexico
I lost a $375K home, life savings, 401K, and additional funds. I gambled away over $1M. My medication was changed 3 Jan 08 to Sinemet and I am no longer shopping or gambling. Mirapex has totally ruined my life. I was taking Mirapex from 1997 through Jan 2008. I have a letter from the doctor who changed my medicaiton on 3 Jan that states she changed it because my gambling was a direct result of Mirapex. Before taking Mirapex, I was a successful single mom, with money in savings, checking and 401K. I had a perfect credit rating, a $375K home and a son in private school. I have lost everything as a result of taking Mirapex. I have been working at the same organization for 28 years and I am now in jeopardy of losing my job when I am just 2 years away from retirement. Please help me.
Posted by Virginia
I lost lot of money. Refinanced my house to payoff credit cards only to max them out again. Filed for bankruptcy. Was in auto accident. Placed on paid admin leave from my job until I sought therapy.
Posted by Washington
I have been diagnosed with Restless Leg Syndrome and have been taking Mirapex for several years. For at least the last two years (probably longer), I have been terrible about my shopping! I have spent money that we don't have, gotten credit cards that my husband wasn't (isn't) aware of, falsified our bank statements (cut/paste) off the web so that my husband wouldn't know what I had bought, and more! I get up early (5:00 am) - before he gets up to go shopping. We have fought over this so many times. I feel TERRIBLE! My husband is a disabled Vietnam veteran, and the stress I have put him under is shameful. We have a limited income, but that doesn't seem to stop me, although I have REALLY tried. While shopping has always been a pleasant experience for me in our 35 years of marriage, it was NEVER a problem like THIS until the past few years. I also have urges to gamble, and have done some over the internet. I'm always trying to talk my husband into going to the casino or taking a trip to Reno. This, too, is out of character for me. The last time my husband found out about my deceitful spending was about two weeks ago. I wanted to die!!! I'm so ashamed of my lack of control!!! Why he hasn't left me, I'll never know! I seem to always promise to do better.... and I do for a while. Then I start shopping/spending without telling him, and eventually it catches up with me and we have a big mess. I have considered suicide before, but my religious beliefs have kept me from making an attempt. Sometimes I would just like to disappear though. I also have depression, which I take medication for. I am so embarrassed to be sharing this information. It wasn't until very recently that I became aware of the possible side effects of Mirapex. My doctor tried taking me off it about a year ago, because it wasn't as effective with my RLS (1mg dose at bedtime). I tried Requip, but it didn't work for me at all. The doctor put me back on Mirapex, at double the doseage (2mg at bedtime). I don't KNOW that the Mirapex is why I have the impulse to shop, and then hide everyting or not. I'm just sharing my experience. I'm sure my husband could tell you HIS experiences dealing with me, as well!