In a paper chronicling Parkinson's patients treated from 2002 to 2004, Mayo Clinic Physicians outlined 11 cases of patients who became compulsive gamblers after being treated with commonly prescribed drugs to calm their tremors.
The current study documents how specific drugs may be linked to the ill effects. Results will published in the September issue of the Archives of Neurology and are posted on the journal's Web site.
One clinic patient, a 52-year-old man taking Boehringer Ingelheim's Mirapex, began to wager compulsively and lost $100,000 in casinos, according to the study. He also reportedly became obsessed with sex, carried on extramarital affairs and became fixated on pornography. One month after stopping the medicine, his wife told physicians his problems were gone. "I have my old husband back," she said.
Previous reports cited by the Mayo Clinic researchers found only isolated gambling problems with some Parkinson's drugs. One such report found such problems among 1.5 percent of 529 patients treated with Mirapex.
Two separate class action lawsuits have been filed against Boehringer Ingelheim and Pfizer, which co-marketed Mirapex until earlier this year, claiming the companies did not adequately warn patients and doctors about the potential for similar problems.
Boehringer Ingelheim refused to comment on the continuing litigation, a Wall Street Journal report said.