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Permax (pergolide mesylate) was prescribed, often in combination with levodopa, to treat the tremors, stiffness, spasms and poor muscle control caused by Parkinson’s disease. It has also been used “off label” to treat restless leg syndrome (RLS).
Approximately 500,000 people have used the drug since it began being used in1989 according to the Food & Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch website.
Permax has some of the same effects of dopamine, a chemical present in low levels in the brain of those who suffer from Parkinson’s, which according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) is the case in at least 500,000 people in the United States. Approximately 50,000 new cases of Parkinson’s are reported each year.
Permax, which was manufactured by Eli Lilly & Co. and marketed by Valeant, was withdrawn from the market in 2007 due to studies, including those by German and Italian researchers and by the Mayo Clinic, suggesting that it increased the risk of heart valve disease in those who took it.
Eli Lilly had previously modified the warning labels on containers of Permax to caution doctors and patients that the medication can cause patients to fall asleep with little or no warning. This is a potentially dangerous side effect depending on what the patient was doing immediately prior to falling asleep. If the patient was driving, for instance, sudden sleep could result in death to the patient and to others.
Additional side effects that have been associated with the use of Permax include:
- Aortic and mitral heart valve injuries
- Cardiac valvulopathy
- Difficulty moving or walking
- Dry mouth
- Leaky heart valves
- Leg or foot swelling
- Loss of appetite
- Severe muscle stiffness
- Trouble sleeping
- Vision problems
- Primary pulmonary hypertension
- Valvular heart disease
- Pulmonary fibrosis (pericardial , retroperitoneal, and pleural)
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of taking Permax, you should immediately consult with your doctor. You should also consult with an experienced pharmaceutical injury attorney who can protect your rights and help you recover damages you may be entitled to. There is a limited amount of time that varies by state, however, in which you may bring a Permax lawsuit, so it is in your best interest to act sooner rather than later.