In January 2007, two studies were published in the New England Journal of Medicine linking the Parkinson’s drug Permax® (pergolide) with an increased risk of serious heart valve injury. Previous smaller studies had suggested a link between Permax® and cardiovascular damage, but a heightened black box warning was not added to the drug’s label until 2006. These latest studies confirm the link and, in fact, show that the risk of heart valve damage is higher than initially suspected – particularly for those who have taken Permax® for extended periods or in higher doses.
Permax® Studies The first study, which was conducted at the Instituti Clinici di Perfezionamento in Milan, involved 155 patients who were taking either Permax® or Dostinex® for Parkinson’s disease. Of the patients taking Permax®, 23 percent suffered moderate to severe heart valve damage – compared with only six percent of patients in the control group.
In the second study, researchers evaluated the medical records of more than 11,000 Parkinson’s patients in Britain and found that those taking Permax® were up 7 times more likely to develop heart valve problems than control subjects.
Even patients without a prior history of heart disease have been reported to suffer serious side effects from Permax® use. The Mayo Clinic has reported severe heart valve damage – including 2 replacement surgeries – in three women between the ages of 60 and 75 who took Permax® daily for extended periods of time.
A Potential Permax® Lawsuit Since its approval in 1989, Permax® has been used to treat Parkinson’s disease—a condition that affects approximately 500,000 Americans—and also Restless Leg Syndrome. However, the drug has devastating, potentially fatal side effects. In fact, one expert said that Permax® caused the same kind of heart valve damage as the notorious weight loss drug fen-phen, which was pulled from the market years ago and has since been the target of thousands of lawsuits.
Our attorneys have been working with clients afflicted with Parkinson’s Disease for many years, and have had family members afflicted with this disease. If you would like to speak to one of our attorneys, contact us, and we would be happy to advise you whether you have a potential lawsuit for your, or your loved one’s injuries from this drug.