Update: Litigation Involving Mirapex and Its Link with Compulsive Gambling Disorder

August 23, 2007

Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. has filed over 135 individual lawsuits against the manufacturers of Mirapex in federal court on behalf of our clients who have suffered from pathological gambling and other compulsive behaviors believed to be caused by their use of Mirapex. All federal Mirapex cases have been consolidated before the Court in the District of Minnesota.  We are fully involved with all aspects of the Mirapex litigation. Currently, we are in the discovery phase of the litigation, including reviewing many internal documents of the Mirapex manufacturers, briefing and arguing motions before the Court and taking depositions of the defendants' employees and representatives. A trial ready date has been set by the Court. We represent many people who have been negatively affected by Mirapex, and we continue to investigate individual cases and to file meritorious cases in court.

We will evaluate your case for free and at no cost to you. If you or someone you know have been prescribed Mirapex and have developed a compulsive gambling addiction, and you wish to consult with us, please contact us here

Mirapex and Compulsive Behaviors

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

Expanding on the Mayo Clinic study, three doctors associated with the FDA and one associated with Duke University reviewed the FDA's Adverse Event Reporting System, which contained 39 reports of Mirapex users with pathological gambling addiction as of March 2005. In the February 2006 Archives of Neurology, Dr. Ana Szarfman and her colleagues noted that this incidence of gambling is "380 times greater than expected." 4

Most recently, Mayo Clinic doctors published another study in January 2007 about additional patients who developed pathological gambling while been treated with Mirapex for Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS).5 These Mayo doctors concluded that the close time relationship between their patients' use of dopamine agonist drugs like Mirapex and their gambling behavior suggested that these drugs caused the problems.

Mirapex and Parkinson's Disease

Mirapex, which is also known as pramipexole, is prescribed to treat symptoms of Parkinson's Disease, RLS and other movement disorders. It is also being studied for the treatment of fibromyalgia, depression and other problems. 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.

Who We Are

Robins, Kaplan, Miller and Ciresi, L.L.P. is currently investigating claims related to Mirapex and will continue to investigate and file a Mirapex lawsuit or Mirapex lawsuits on behalf of those who have developed compulsive behaviors like gambling as a result of their Mirapex use. Our firm and our attorneys have received many awards and accolades, and our Mass Torts department has a great deal of experience with and are well-respected throughout the country for this type of products liability defective drug litigation. While this recognition is appreciated, we are most proud of the service we provide to our clients in trying to obtain justice when they have been injured through no fault of their own.

Our team of Mirapex lawyers, paralegals, legal nurse consultants, investigators and financial analysts is actively moving forward with the Mirapex investigation. We began investigating this case over two years ago after being contacted by potential clients following the publication of the July 2005 Mayo Clinic Study.

We will work directly with you to evaluate your claim for free and at no cost to you and if we accept your case, you can rest assured that our team of attorneys, paralegals, legal nurse consultants, investigators and financial analysts will work with you personally throughout this process.

[1] M. Leann Dodd, MD, 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.
[2] 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.
[3] "Popular Parkinson's Drug Linked With Gambling." Associated Press. July 12, 2005.
[4] Ana Szarfman, MD, PhD, P. Murali Doraiswamy, MD, Joseph M. Tonning, MD, MPH, Jonathan G. Levine, PhD, Association Between Gambling and Parkinsonian Therapy as Detected in the Food and Drug Administration Adverse Event Database, Archives of Neurology, Vol. 63, Feb. 2006.
[5] M. Tippmann-Peikert, MD, J.G. Park, MD, B.F. Boeve, MD, J.W. Shepard, MD, M.H. Silber, MB, ChB, Pathologic Gambling in Patients With Restless Legs Syndrome Treated With Dopaminergic Agonists, Archives of Neurology, Vol. 68, Jan. 2007.

The articles on our website include some of the publications and papers authored by our attorneys, both before and after they joined our firm. The content of these articles should not be taken as legal advice. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views or official position of Robins Kaplan LLP.


Tara D. Sutton


Chair, National Mass Tort Group

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