Parkinson's medication 'causes sex, gambling addictions'
A group of people suffering Parkinson's disease is launching a class action claiming their medication has caused gambling and sex addiction.
The Federal Court in Melbourne is being asked to hear claims that some people taking prescription medication to treat the tremors associated with Parkinson's disease developed a range of uncharacteristic addictive disorders.
Lawyers will claim two drug companies breached a duty of care to the customers on multiple fronts.
The action targets Pfizer Australia and Aspen Pharmacare Australia and will claim the companies failed to properly research the possible side effects of the drug, failed to provide proper warning about the increased risks of compulsive disorders, and did not withdraw the drug from sale after they became aware of the increased risks.
The writ claims some people taking the drug are alleged to have become addicted to pornography and lost their life savings to gambling, and that the compulsive behaviour ceased once they stopped taking the drug.
Melbourne law firm Arnold Thomas and Becker is representing the claimants suing the companies, which market a class of drug known as dopamine agonists.
Pfizer sells the prescribed drug cabergoline in Australia under the brand name Cabaser.
The drug is often used as a treatment for Parkinson's sufferers under the age of 65.
The drug restores the imbalance of the chemical dopamine, which controls the the body's movements.
Aspen Pharmacare markets a similar drug called pergolide, which is marketed as Permax in Australia.
There is no known cure for Parkinson's which affects about 80,000 Australians.
Symptoms of the degenerative disease include tremors, slowness of movement and stiffness.
Fri Jun 4, 2010 10:51am AEST