Bizarre side effects of Parkinson’s disease drug brings makers to court
Dr Ananya Mandal, MD
The Medical News -
Parkinson’s disease affects nearly 80,000 Australians and is a severely debilitating nerve disorder that leads to tremors, muscle stiffness, uncharacteristic movements, loss of balance and slowing of movements.
The drugs used to treat the symptoms of this incurable disease include those that increase the chemical Dopamine in the brain. People with Parkinson’s disease are low on this chemical in their brain. Dopamine on the other hand is one of the chemicals that is linked to the gratification obtained from addictions and addictive behaviors. Studies have shown that these drugs are linked to compulsive and risky behaviors like gambling, shopping and binge eating.
In a bizarre twist to the story some 100 people with Parkinson’s have developed certain addictions like those to gambling and pornography and internet sex addictions after consuming these dopamine enriching drugs for their condition. They have moved to court launching a class action against the drug manufacturers. They claim that they have not been given adequate warning of these side effects. The case will be heard at the Federal Court in Melbourne.
The targets of the lawsuits include Pfizer Australia and Aspen Pharmacare Australia. Pfizer markets a drug called cabergoline in Australia under the brand name Cabaser and Aspen Pharmacare markets a similar drug called pergolide, which is marketed as Permax in Australia.
The claim will bring to notice that not only was proper warning regarding the side effects missing but also that the companies did not withdraw the drugs even after being aware of the increased risks. The lawyers representing the claimants from Melbourne law firm Arnold Thomas and Becker have claimed that these people have lost their lives’ savings to gambling, a behavior that stopped once they stopped the drugs.