Parkinson’s Drugs Linked with Valvular Heart Disease

Recent studies have determined a causative link between the use of certain ergot-derived dopamine agonists and the development of valvular heart disease. The link is such that antiparkinsonian drug users are being warned of the potential dangers associated with such treatments.

Ergot-derived dopamine agonists are typically used to provide symptomatic relief for people suffering from Parkinson’s disease. A neurodegenerative disease, Parkinson’s is caused by a dopamine imbalance. Dopamine agonists serve as a type of artificial filler designed to correct this imbalance and reduce its resulting effects. Although the drugs have proven capable of yielding positive benefits, the serious nature of the valvular heart disease has prompted a great deal of concern.

Permax, Pergolide, Cabergoline and Valvular Heart Disease

There are a number of different ergot-derived dopamine agonists used in Parkinson’s treatment, two of which have been implicated in the development of cardiac-valve regurgitation (leaky heart valves): Pergolide and cabergoline. Pergolide is marketed under the brand name of Permax by Eli Lilly and cabergoline is marketed under the brand name of Dostinex and Cabaser by Pfizer. Studies conducted in the United Kingdom and Italy took into account the cases of more than 11,400 patients taking antiparkinsonian medication. The studies concluded that patients taking pergolide and cabergoline face an increased risk of developing valvular heart disease.

It is believed that use of the aforementioned ergot-derived dopamine agonists can interfere with the 5-HT2B receptor, potentially impairing heart valve functionality. Pergolide in particular has proven capable of eliciting fibrotic changes in valve “leaflets” that can result in the stiffening of valves and valve regurgitation. Such fibrotic changes can have fatal consequences.

Parkinson’s Drugs Injuries – Lawsuits

Drug manufacturers are responsible for ensuring the safety and efficacy of their products before marketing them for public consumption. Failure to do so is considered negligent and grounds for pharmaceutical litigation. The Pensacola personal injury attorneys of Aylstock, Witkin Kreis & Overholtz handle national litigation across the United States for victims injured by defective pharmaceuticals and medical devices. They have successfully represented and obtained substantial compensation for a number of patients who have been harmed by drugs. Contact AWKO law today at (844) 794-7402 to get more information about your rights as a Parkinson’s Drug injury victim.

On May 3rd, Neil Overholtz attended and served as a faculty member at the Mealey’s Emerging Drug and Medical Device Litigation Conference in San Diego, California, where he presented the Plaintiff’s perspective on the Permax valve disease cases, including providing an educational presentation on the science and liability issues in the case. Mr. Overholtz also presented initial information on the emerging litigation involving Zelnorm heart attack and Zelnorm stroke cases. Mr. Overholtz is co-chairing the upcoming Mealey’s teleconference on the Zelnorm lawsuits on May 17th.