Permax (pergolide) is a drug that was formerly prescribed in the United States to treat Parkinson's disease. Parkinson's in associated with low dopamine levels in the brain and this medication has some of the same effects on the body as dopamine.
The risk of heart valve damage attributed to Permax was shown to be much higher than was originally thought. One study showed that roughly one-fourth of Parkinson's patients taking pergolide had moderate to severe heart valve problems. Another study 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.
Not only are these numbers staggering, but the issues caused by Permax are non-reversible and valve replacement surgery is the only solution. This medication seems to lead to adverse effects through the same heart-related mechanism that the fen-phen diet combination did.
About half a million people had taken Permax during its first 14 years on the market when its developer, Eli Lilly and Co., added valve damage to the potential side effects listed on the package insert in 2003. But the company said the risk was extremely low — five in 100,000 users.
About 1.5 million Americans and 6 million people worldwide have Parkinson's disease, which results in tremors, loss of muscle control and sometimes death.
If you or a loved one was prescribed Permax and experienced serious side effects, contact us today to determine if you may have a personal injury claim.