Update: Investigation into Mirapex and its Link With Compulsive Gambling Disorders
March 17, 2006
Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. has filed lawsuits on behalf of clients who developed a compulsive gambling disorder while on Mirapex.
According to a study by Mayo Clinic doctors released in July 2005, the drug Mirapex may cause compulsive gambling addictions.1 The Mayo study builds upon earlier research which suggested a link between dopamine agonist drugs, like Mirapex, and a range of compulsive behaviors, such as compulsive gambling. For example, a study published in 2003 by researchers at the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Research Center at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Arizona found increased pathological gambling in those being treated with high-dose dopamine agonist therapy, and in particular with Mirapex.2 The lead author of the Mayo Clinic study has explained that when a patient develops the Mirapex side effects of compulsive behaviors but then stops using Mirapex, the results are very dramatic "like a light switch being turned off when they stopped the drug."3
Mirapex and Parkinson's Disease
Mirapex, which is also known as pramipexole, is prescribed to treat symptoms of Parkinson's Disease and other movement disorders like Restless Legs Syndrome. It is also being studied for the treatment of fibromyalgia. As a dopamine agonist, Mirapex stimulates nerves in the brain which are normally stimulated by dopamine, a brain chemical that helps control motor functions and movement. The areas of the brain and the dopamine receptors that Mirapex stimulates, particularly within the brain's mesolimbic pathway, are the areas associated with addictive behaviors.
Mirapex is manufactured and distributed by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, a company headquartered in Germany, and by Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, headquartered in New York. Mirapex is the most commonly prescribed drug in its class.
 M. Leann Dodd, M.D, Kevin J. Klos, MD, James H. Bower, MD, Yonas E. Geda, MD, Keith A. Josephs, MST, MD, J. Eric Ahlskog, PhD, MD, Pathological Gambling Caused by Drugs Used to Treat Parkinson Disease, Archives of Neurology, Vol. 62, Sept. 2005.
 E. Driver-Dunckley, MD, J. Samanta, MD, M. Stacy, MD, Pathological Gambling Associated With Dopamine Agonist Therapy in Parkinson's Disease, Neurology, Vol. 61, August 2003.
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