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Permax and Dostinex

Injured by Permax? Injured by Dostinex?

1. Permax (Generic: Pergolide mesylate) has been linked to serious heart damage. Cardiac valvulopathy involving one or more valves has resulted in some patients taking Permax. Permax is used to treat Parkinson's Disease.

2. Dostinex (Generic:cabergoline 0.05 mg) has been linked to serious heart damage. Cardiac valvulopathy involving one or more valves has resulted from some patients taking Dostinex. Dostinex is used to treat certain hormone problems (excess prolactin). The drug is also used to reduce or prevent breast milk production, except after childbirth (postpartum). The drug is also used for "restless leg syndrome." This drug may also be used for Parkinson's disease, prolactin-producing tumors and to adjust various hormone levels in certain diseases (ovarian diseases).

The risk of heart valve damage with these two drugs for may be far greater than was known, new research suggests.

Two studies were reported January 4th 2006 in the New England Journal Of Medicine. One study, by Italian researchers, found that roughly one-fourth of Parkinson's patients taking pergolide or cabergoline, sold as Permax, Dostinex and other brands, had moderate to severe heart valve problems. A second study, by German doctors, found that users of either drug were five to seven times more likely to have leaky heart valves than those on other types of Parkinson's medications.

Dr. Brian Roth, Professor of Pharmacology and Medical chemistry of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill noted "these two studies reinforce the notion of a causal connection between 5-HT2B {Pergolide mesylate and cabergoline} and valvular heart disease.

"It's a bad side effect. As far as I know, there are no medications that can reverse it," and valve replacement surgery is the only solution, he said.

Roth had no role in the studies but directs a drug screening program for the National Institute of Mental Health. He also published a paper several years ago warning that these drugs appeared to trigger the same heart-related mechanism that the fen-phen diet combination did. The diet pills, sold as Pondimin and Redux, were pulled from the market in 1997 after they were linked to valve problems.

In one study, Dr. Renzo Zanettini and others at the Instituti Clinici di Perfezionamento in Milan obtained echocardiogram images of the hearts of 155 patients taking various Parkinson's medications and a comparison group of 90 healthy people. Moderate to severe valve problems were seen in 23 percent of those on pergolide and nearly 29 percent of those on cabergoline but none of those on other Parkinson's drugs and less than 6 percent of the comparison group. The study was paid for by the Milan clinic and two Parkinson's foundations.

In the other study, Dr. Rene Schade and colleagues in Berlin and in Montreal used records from more than 11,400 Parkinson's patients in the United Kingdom. The rate of newly diagnosed leaky valves was increased among pergolide and cabergoline users but not the others, they found.

The rights to Permax in the U.S. now belong to Valeant Pharmaceuticals of Aliso Viejo, Calif. A company statement said Permax is safe and effective, but Valeant is no longer promoting the product. All such drugs should be used "with caution," the statement says.

Cabergoline is approved in the U.S. for treating a hormone problem, excessive prolactin in the blood, but not Parkinson's.

Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological disorder resulting from the degeneration of neurons in a region of the brain that controls movement. The degeneration creates a shortage of the brain-signaling chemical known as dopamine, causing the movement impairments that characterize the disease. In the United States, at least 500,000 people are believed to suffer from Parkinson's disease, and about 50,000 new cases are reported annually, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Legal Help for Permax Victims

If you or a loved one took Permax and suffered side effects, call us at (800) 220-LAW1, or use the "Do I Have A Case?" link on this web site.

This informational piece was prepared by Silverman & Fodera. If you would like more information on this topic, call us at (800) 220-LAW1, or use the "Do I Have A Case?" link on this web site.