Q: What is Mirapex?
A: Mirapex (pramipexole) is a prescription "dopamine agonist" medicine used to treat Parkinson's disease. Mirapex may be used alone, or in combination with levodopa or other medicines that treat Parkinson's. Recently, physicians have also prescribed Mirapex to treat Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). Mirapex is manufactured by Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, and is distributed by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Mirapex was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1997.
Q: What is Parkinson's disease?
A: Parkinson's disease is a motor system disorder that has four primary symptoms: tremor (trembling), rigidity, slowness of movement, and postural instability (imbalance). Parkinson's disease is caused by the loss of brain cells that produce a chemical called dopamine.
Q: What is Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)?
A: Mirapex can also be used to treat Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), a condition that causes unpleasant sensations, discomfort, and restlessness in the legs. RLS may be the result of dopamine level changes, but the exact cause is still unknown. Low doses of Mirapex seem to be effective in controlling RLS symptoms in some patients.
Q: Has there been any recent news about Mirapex?
A: There have been recent reports of Parkinson's disease and RLS patients experiencing out-of-control, compulsive urges while being treated with Mirapex or other dopamine agonist medicines. Among the behaviors that have been reported are cases of pathological gambling, hypersexuality (increased sexual thoughts, feelings, or behavior), and compulsive eating. Mirapex's prescribing information states that the incidence of compulsive behavior has been low, and that they are generally reversible upon dose reduction or treatment discontinuation. The suggested link between Mirapex use and compulsive behavior is still under examination.
Q: What precautions should I take before or while taking Mirapex?
A: Elderly patients are usually more sensitive to the effects of Mirapex than younger adults. Hallucinations may be especially likely to occur in elderly patients taking Mirapex. Also, while taking Mirapex, it is important for your healthcare professional to check your progress at regular visits and to adjust your dose as necessary. Stopping Mirapex suddenly is not recommended.
Additionally, because Mirapex may cause drowsiness, dizziness, lightheadedness, vision problems, weakness, or coordination problems, you should make sure you know how you react to Mirapex before you drive, use machines, or perform any activity that requires alertness, good coordination, or the ability to think and see well.
Q: What should I tell my healthcare professional before he or she prescribes Mirapex?
A: You should tell your healthcare if you have or had any unusual allergic reaction to Mirapex; if you are allergic to any other substances (foods, preservatives, or dyes); are or may be pregnant, are planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding; have eye problems, especially with the retina; experience hallucinations, hypotension, or postural hypotension; or have kidney problems.
Q: What are the side effects associated with Mirapex?
A: Common side effects associated with Mirapex use include involuntary movements and motions, dizziness, drowsiness, upset stomach, heartburn, constipation, excessive tiredness, frequent urination, dry mouth, or decreased sexual desire or ability. Tell your healthcare professional if any of these symptoms are severe or persistent.
You should call your healthcare professional immediately if you experience any of the following: hallucinations; fainting; high temperature, rigid muscles, or confusion; muscle pain; increased sweating; or falling asleep while eating, having a conversation, or in the middle of another activity.
Q: Are there any interactions between Mirapex and other drugs or foods?
A: Mirapex and certain other medicines can interact with each other. Tell your healthcare professional about all the medicines you take - including prescription and non-prescription medicines - especially carbidopa and levodopa combination (e.g. Sinement), or levodopa (e.g., Dopar, Larodopa). Mirapex can increase the side effects of levodopa. Your healthcare professional may need to adjust your dosage.
Q: What should I do if I think I have been injured as a result of using Mirapex?
A: If you or a loved one has experienced any dangerous symptoms or unusual medical conditions while taking Mirapex, you should first contact your doctor or other healthcare professional. You may also wish to meet with a product liability lawyer to discuss filing a lawsuit in order to pursue a legal remedy for any injuries caused by Mirapex use.
Contact a qualified product liability attorney to make sure your rights are protected.