Permax (pergolide) is an oral medication from a class of drugs called dopamine agonists, and is used in the treatment of Parkinson's disease, restless leg syndrome, and migraine headaches. Approved by the FDA in 1988, Permax has been found in studies to make a patient five to seven times more likely to have leaky heart valves than those patients who use other drug therapies for Parkinson's. Other dopamine agonist drugs include the now banned diet drug Fen-phen.
Permax interacts with a receptor in the heart valve, causing the valve to overgrow and become floppy and leaky. Permax currently has an FDA administered black box warning addressing the increased risk of heart valve problems in patients.
Further, Eli Lilly & Co., the manufacturer of Permax, distributed a letter in 2003 to all medical professionals warning them that the drug may cause patients to fall asleep with little or no warning. Some patients have been reported to "black out" while driving, resulting in serious injury or death. Permax may also cause severe leg cramping and swelling.
While all medications have certain, anticipated side effects, a drug manufacturer has a duty to inform physicians adequately regarding the known risks associated with its drugs. If a manufacturer fails to do so, it can be held responsible to patients who are injured as the result of inadequate warnings, under a legal theory known as "product liability."
If you or a loved one has experienced any health problems from using Permax, including heart complications, you should contact your doctor immediately and contact an experienced Permax attorney, as provided on this site, to discuss your legal options.
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The FDA's special website dedicated to drugs and medications resources