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Home > Ask The Get Out of Debt Experts > I’m Taking Mirapex for My Parkinson’s And It’s Made Me Gamble and Compulsively Shop. – Betty

I’m Taking Mirapex for My Parkinson’s And It’s Made Me Gamble and Compulsively Shop. – Betty

Betty

“Dear Steve,

I get $729 a month from SS. That is my only income. I have never been so undisciplined in my life as the last 7 years with each year getting worse. I am on mirapex for my Parkinsons and even though I know shopping, and gambling are 2 of the many problems associated with this drug I still convince myself its OK for me to do it because somebody wins and another dollar or more is needed to win or buy something. I am now 31000 in debt to credit card and personal loan. Who would lend me 25000 dollars unsecured? Capital one did

I told my husband of my proplem and he cried. He is 82 and I am 68. Do we have to get a divorce if I file bankruptcy or how can I make sure they can’t take our house without a divorce. My medical bills average out to $300 a month. Plus a crdit card with $8700 on it .

Tell me please what i can do.

Betty”

The Answer

 

Dear Betty,

The first reaction most readers are going to have to reading your question is, “Sure it does, what a lame excuse for poor money management.” But you and I know that people who would say that simply are not aware of the problems associated with Mirapex. They are well documents.

Mirapex is a medication approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, a progressive disease caused by a lack of dopamine that can ultimately lead to paralysis. Mirapex contains a chemical that attaches to the dopamine receptors in the brain. Mirapex targets the dopamine receptors in the part of the brain linked to pleasure and reward-seeking behavior. It’s possible that Mirapex binds to a larger number of receptors than other Parkinson’s drugs, thereby causing more pronounced side effects.

One of the side effects of Mirapex has been the development of compulsive gambling in people who have not had a problem with gambling before taking the drug. For example, a retired government intelligence worker lost thousands of dollars in slot machines before he discovered that gambling was a Mirapex side effect and stopped taking the drug. A 68-year-old man lost more than $200,000 before his medication was adjusted. A 41-year-old lost more than $5,000 in Internet gambling.

Gambling is only one of the pleasure/reward-seeking activities that can increase in patients taking Mirapex. Other obsessive behaviors include:

  • Excessive shopping
  • Overeating
  • Hypersexuality

    All these obsessive behaviors stop immediately when patients are taken off of Mirapex or given a reduced dose.

    A study at the Mayo Clinic found that 20 percent of patients taking Mirapex suffered from uncontrollable sleepiness, including falling asleep while driving.

    If you are taking Mirapex and experiencing obsessive behaviors, see your healthcare provider immediately to discuss whether or not you should have your medication changed or adjusted. Source

  • Concern was first raised about possible Mirapex side effects after the results of a study were released in 2003. The study, done by the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Research Center at Barrow Neurological Institute in Arizona, found that 1.5% of the Parkinson patients treated with Mirapex developed compulsive gambling behavior. This side effect happened with patients taking Mirapex, but not with those taking other Parkinson medication.

    These results were confirmed by a 2005 study at the Mayo Clinic, published in the July 12, 2005 issue of the Archives of Neurology. That study found 11 patients at the Mayo Clinic who had developed compulsive gambling after taking Mirapex, and doctors subsequently found 14 more patients at the Mayo who had developed a compulsive gambling problem. The Mayo study found an additional Mirapex side effect: 20 percent of the patients taking Mirapex in the study suffered from uncontrolled sleepiness, including falling asleep while driving.

    I think that the solution for your issues is a two pronged approach. The absolute first step is that you need to immediately go see your doctor and either get your medication switched or get the dose reduced. It is apparent that you as highly susceptible to the troubling side effects of Mirapex.

    In June 2008, results from the largest study ever to investigate the connection between compulsive behavior and dopamine agonists like Mirapex was presented at the at the International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders conference in Chicago. The study looked at more than 3,000 patients from 46 medical centers in the United States and Canada, and found that Parkinson’s patients on these medications were nearly three times more likely to have at least one impulse-control disorder compared with patients receiving other treatments. The study found that more than 13 percent of patients taking dopamine agonists suffered from at least one of four serious behavioral addictions. Source

    To remedy the debt problem you should talk to a local bankruptcy attorney and explain your situation. Bankruptcy will eliminate the debt that you might now be able to repay and have accrued as a result of your medication side effect.

    There have been lawsuits filed against the manufacturer of this drug by other patients for leading them into troubled gambling and financial waters. It might also be worth either looking online for an attorney that has experience with these issues or asking an attorney that you know for a referral to an attorney that might be able to assist you with a claim.


    P.S. Be sure to read ‘The Secret of Surviving Through Difficult Economic Times. What I Learned On My Journey‘.

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    About Steve Rhode

    Steve Rhode
    Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
    • Mary

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OB2GnXB7rM

      Hello! Please check out this YouTube video that my father (a scientist for 40 years) made regarding the compulsive behavior effects of Mirapex. He needs to collect as much data as he can regarding how Mirapex effects those who have taken it to try and prove that there are many more behaviors than the pharmaceutical companies will admit to. I have experienced the compulsive horrors first-hand. We do not want to give at this time information on my compulsive behavior as to not prejudice the study. :o(
      Thanks! Mary

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