Find out if you have a Permax side effects claim

There is urgent news for Parkinson’s patients who took pergolide therapy, or Permax. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic reported that three patients who used Permax developed severe heart valve disease, much like the deterioration and regurgitation resulting from the diet drug Fen Phen. Two of these Permax patients needed heart valve replacement and the third suffered other serious damage to the valves. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Mayo Clinic have ordered further investigation into the side effects of Permax.

Permax, or pergolide mesylate, is a drug developed by the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly to treat Parkinson’s disease. According to Kindra Strupp, spokeswoman for Eli Lilly, more than 500,000 people have taken Permax since the product was approved for treatment of Parkinson’s disease patients about 13 years ago. Strupp noted that the company is aware of the valve disorder and that they have been in contact with the FDA. Amarin Pharmaceuticals Inc. markets Permax in the US, and is also aware of the valve disease.

Dr. Raul Espinosa, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic and one of the authors of the report, says that further investigation into other heart valve surgeries is underway to determine if the condition stemming from pergolide is under-recognized by doctors. This investgation came about after the initial report indicating three cases in which women in their 60’s or 70’s who were taking Permax developed severe, unexplained valvular heart disease. None of the patients–a 72-year-old, 74-year-old and 61-year-old–had used other drugs associated with heart valve problems.

The patients had symptoms such as fluid retention in the legs, breathing difficulties and heart murmurs that can be indicative of heart valve problems. The heart valves keep blood from flowing backwards in the organ, and are essential to the normal flow of blood. Two of the patients underwent surgery to replace the defective valves. Once the valves were removed, and examined, large surface lesions were identified on the valves.

The drug’s makers say that Permax has had a safe record since coming on the market, but that they would consider adding the information when they update the labeling on the Permax package. Dr. Abraham Lieberman, the medical director of the National Parkinson Foundation in Miami, was one of the doctors who studied pergolide in the 1980’s, when it was being developed. “There is evidence of pulmonary fibrosis that is associated with pergolide,” he says, “but there’s a 14-year history of people taking Permax, and why hasn’t this showed up sooner?”

Pergolide shares characteristics with a number of other drugs that have been associated with valvular heart disease. These drugs, including Fen-Phen, which is taken for weight loss, are all associated with a heightened stimulation of serotonin receptors which cause the valve damage.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder resulting from the degeneration of neurons in a region of the brain that controls movement. The degeneration creates a shortage of the brain-signaling chemical known as dopamine, causing the involuntary movements that characterize the disease. In the United States, at least 1.5 million people are believed to be affected by Parkinson’s disease according to the National Parkinson Foundation Inc. (NPF), and about 50,000 new cases are reported annually, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Many Parkinson’s patients have taken Permax and few are aware of the potential side effects. If you or a loved one have taken Permax and have experienced any of these symptoms or are concerned that you may, call our Permax injury lawyers now at 1-800-THE-EAGLE (1-800-843-3245) or SUBMIT A SHORT AND SIMPLE CASE FORM HERE.

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