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Parkinson's drugs

Class Action Brought Against Makers of Parkinsonís Drugs

Thursday, February 28, 2008 by: Lynn Berry
Tags: Parkinson's drugs, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) A class action by a law firm in Melbourne (Australia) is about to be taken against two pharmaceutical companies that produce drugs for treating Parkinson's disease. The action is being taken due to side effects caused by the drugs and the lack of warnings given to doctors and their patients about these side effects.

Parkinson's disease results from an imbalance of dopamine which regulates movement. Parkinson's can effect people differently but typical symptoms include trembling or shaking, muscle stiffness and slow body movements.

The Parkinson's drugs at issue are of a class of drugs known as dopamine agonists. These agonists restore the imbalance of dopamine in the brain. And while they also stimulate the reward centre in the brain, they can overstimulate leading to compulsive behaviours according to neurologist Dr. Andrew Evans (see the abc link below).

These behaviours include compulsive gambling and shopping as well as heightened sexual urges, and have lead to serious problems. The compulsive behaviours stopped when patients' stopped taking the drugs.

One of the drugs, called cabergoline, is marketed in Australia as Cabaser and is produced by Pfizer. The other is pergolide marketed as Permax by Valeant Pharmaceuticals. Generic versions of pergolide may also be manufactured by Par and Teva.

In March 2007 the FDA announced that Permax was being voluntarily withdrawn from sale because of "risks of serious damage to patients' heart valves" (http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2007/NEW0...) . This is not mentioned in the news releases on Valeant's website, see (http://www.valeant.com/mediaCenter/newsRelea...) .

There are two crucial issues. One is that for both drugs, information about compulsive behaviours was not available for doctors (until 2006 and 2007 for Cabaser) nor is advice given in Consumer Medical Information.

Secondly, the drug companies would have known about the side effects from around 2003 and even 1994, according to Anne Shortall from the law firm undertaking the class action, "But it appears that the drug companies had information even quite a long time prior to that from studies they had done on patients in regard to the manufacture of the drug" (1).

There is no advice on compulsive behaviour side effects about Cabaser (2).

References:

1. (http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/01/2...)

2. (http://www.pfizer.com.au/ProductDetails.aspx...)

About the author

Lynn Berry is passionate about personal development, natural health care, justice and spirituality. She has a website at www.lynn-berry.com.


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