Two drugs used to treat Parkinson’s disease – Permax and Dostinex – have been found to cause serious damage to heart valves, leading to potential heart failure and sudden death.
Permax, generically pergolide, is made by Valeant Pharmaceuticals and is sold in the United States for the treatment of Parkinson’s. Dostinex, or cabergoline, developed by Pfizer, is approved in other countries to treat Parkinson’s.
Studies released in January 2007 and reported in The New England Journal of Medicine found that both drugs presented a “sharply higher risk” of heart valve damage. One study conducted in England based on the records of 11,417 Parkinson’s patients found that patients taking Permax were seven times more likely to suffer valve problems.
If you or a loved one used Permax or Dostinex and suffered valve problems that led to a severe heart attack or death, you may want to contact a Permax attorney or a Dostinex attorney.
The second study, conducted in Italy, found that 23 percent of Parkinson’s patients who took Permax and 29 percent of those who took Dostinex suffered damage to heart valves. Only 6 percent of patients in the study prescribed neither drug suffered valve damage.
Permax and Dostinex are used to treat other ailments, including the hormone disorder hyperprolactinemia, but the studies focused only on Parkinson’s patients, who generally take larger doses of the drugs.
About 1.5 million Americans have Parkinson’s disease. According to one report, about 73,000 prescriptions were written in 2006 for Permax, which was developed and originally manufactured by Eli Lilly.
Experts said the Parkinson’s drugs created the same sort of valve damage experienced by patients who took the diet drug combination fen-phen, which led to the 1997 withdrawal of the two drugs Pondimin and Redux. The drugs produce a multiplication of cells in heart valves that can cause the valves to thicken and not function properly.
Kline & Specter, PC, is based in Philadelphia and has some 30 attorneys, several of whom are also highly skilled doctors. The law firm has had success litigating product liability and prescription drug lawsuits in Pennsylvania , New Jersey and nationwide. For a free evaluation of your case, click here to contact a Permax lawyer or a Dostinex lawyer.