A new study released January 3, 2007 revealed that two Parkinson's disease drugs (Permax and Dostinex) cause the same kind of heart valve damage that led to the withdrawal of the diet drug combination fen-phen.
Have you or a loved one suffered from critical heart valve damage from taking the Parkinson’s disease drug Permax? If so, it’s time to fight back with a Permax lawsuit. Contact us today. We get results.
Developed by Eli Lilly & Co. and sold under the brand name Permax (generic pergolide) and Pfizer’s Dostinex (generic cabergoline), had a distinctly higher risk of heart valve damage than those taking other therapies.
The Parkinson’s drug studies analyzed the records of 11,417 patients in Britain and tested 245 patients in Italy. These studies reinforce the results of previous smaller studies demonstrating that they cause damage to the heart valve. A damaged heart valve is a serious condition that can lead to heart failure and sudden death.
The British study showed patients taking Permax (pergolide) were 7.1 times more likely to develop heart valve damage than those who took other treatments. Patients taking the highest doses of the drug had a 37 times greater risk.
A second study, conducted in Italy, tested 245 people, of whom 155 had Parkinson's disease. Of the diseased population, one group received Permax (pergolide), one group received Dostinex (cabergoline), and one group received an alternative Parkinson's treatment. The non-diseased control group received nothing.
The results showed that 23.4 percent of patients taking Permax and 28.6 percent of patients taking Dostinex suffered heart damage, compared with just 5.6 percent in the control group which points to huge risks for patients taking these two Parkinson’s drugs.
Used to treat the tremors of
Parkinson's disease since 1989, Permax came under new scrutiny in December
2002 when Mayo Clinic doctors raised concerns that the drug had caused severe
heart damage in three patients.
After ruling out other possible causes, doctors suspected that Permax damaged
heart valves to the point where blood leaked backward into the heart. This is
known as valvular regurgitation, and the condition that causes it is cardiac
valvulopathy or valvular heart disease.
This can strain the heart, leading to symptoms such as dizziness and chest
pain -- and left untreated, heart failure and death. Two of the patients in
Permax reports published by the Mayo Clinic required surgery to replace heart
Similar heart problems were suffered by people who took the diet drugs Redux
and Pondimin often combined with phentermine in the popular diet cocktail
called fen-phen. The drugs were pulled off the market in 1997after Mayo
Clinic doctors found 24 cases of heart valve damage in people taking them.
Is Permax linked to heart valve failure? Discussing the Permax reports
in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Dr. Shahbudin H. Rahimtoola said:
"One could argue that this is a report of only three patients and that we
should wait for more cases; however, try telling that to patients and
families" in cases where a Permax user must have valve replacement
He called for extensive studies that may find Permax linked to heart valve
failure: "Obviously, this will be costly, but in the long term good patient
care should be more important than cost."
"Eventually this approach may be cost-effective, especially if the cost of
possible litigation is considered," Dr. Rahimtoola said. The possibility
of Permax claims by patients brings to mind the fen-phen case, in which drug
maker Wyeth expects to pay former patients and their families at least $14.6
billion for damages done by the drugs.
What's more, "patients currently taking or those who have taken [Permax]
surely want to know the whole truth as soon as possible," he said.
The Mayo Clinic's Permax reports also recommended that all Permax patients
undergo heart tests, and that those with the kind of damage associated with
the drug be taken off it.
Dr. Rahimtoola further suggested that patients may need to undergo heart
tests before starting to take Permax -- "an important and perhaps
controversial issue that needs to be resolved," he said
Without waiting for conclusive proof finding Permax linked to heart valve
failure, patients may want to discuss the recent Permax reports with their
physicians. Symptoms of heart valve damage may not be obvious to patients,
but doctors may detect tell-tale heart murmurs. More serious cases can be
marked by chest pain, swelling of the feet and ankles and shortness of
If you or a loved one has taken this drug, and believe
Permax linked to heart valve failure or other problems, contact the office of
Monheit Law to see if you are among those who may file legal Permax claims
Each state sets strict deadlines for people who have been injured to lawsuits
such as Permax claims, and the deadlines vary from state to state. So if you
believe you've been injured, it's important that you get legal advice as soon