Mirapex (pramipexole) is a prescription medication that was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1997. The drug is also known as a “dopamine agonsit”, and is used to treat Parkinson's disease, the motor system disorder caused by the loss of dopamine producing brain cells. Mirapex may be used alone, or in combination with Levodopa or other medicines that treat Parkinson's.
Physicians not only prescribe Mirapex for Parkinson’s disease, but also to treat Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). Because RLS may be a consequence of dopamine level changes, RLS may be controlled by taking low doses of Mirapex. Mirapex is manufactured by Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, and is distributed by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Elderly patients should consult with their doctor about the risks involved with taking Mirapex and should exercise caution when using it since hallucinations may be especially likely to occur.
When taking Mirapex, it’s important that your healthcare professional check your progress regularly, to allow for dose adjustments and for the reduction of any unwanted effects. Don’t stop taking Mirapex suddenly without first talking to your healthcare professional because they may advise you to decrease your dose of Mirapex first before stopping it completely.
It’s best not to drive or perform any activity that requires good coordination or alertness while you are on Mirapex because it may cause vision problems, lightheadedness, drowsiness, dizziness, weakness, or coordination problems.
Mirapex Side Effects
Tell your healthcare professional if any of the following side effects associated with Mirapex use are severe or persistent:
- Involuntary movements and motions
- Upset stomach
- Excessive tiredness
- Frequent urination
- Dry mouth
- Decreased sexual desire or ability
Call your healthcare professional immediately if you experience any of the following side effects of Mirapex use:
- High temperature, rigid muscles, or confusion
- Muscle pain
- Increased sweating
- Falling asleep while eating, having a conversation, or in the middle of another activity
Are There Any Interactions With Drugs or Foods?
Tell your healthcare professional about all the medicines you take - including prescription and non-prescription medicines - especially:
- Carbidopa and levodopa combination (e.g., Sinement)
- Levodopa (e.g., Dopar, Larodopa)
Mirapex can increase the side effects of Levodopa. Your healthcare professional may need to adjust your dosage.
What Should I Tell My Healthcare Professional?
You should tell your healthcare professional if you:
- Have kidney problems.
- Have or have had any unusual or allergic reaction to Mirapex (pramipexole), or if you are allergic to any other substances (foods, preservatives, or dyes).
- Have eye problems, especially with the retina.
- Experience hallucinations, hypotension, or postural hypotension.
- Are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are breast-feeding.
Although Mirapex hasn’t been studied in pregnant women, animal studies have shown that Mirapex may interfere with pregnancy when the mother is given doses many times higher than the human dose. It’s unknown whether Mirapex passes into human breast milk, although there is a possibility of serious unwanted effects in nursing infants.
Mirapex's Suggested Link to Compulsive Behavior
According to recent reports, Parkinson's disease and RLS patients have been experiencing out-of-control, compulsive urges while being treated with Mirapex or other dopamine agonist medicines. These behaviors include cases of pathological gambling, hypersexuality, and compulsive eating.
Mirapex's prescribing information has been changed to describe these reported cases. It states that the incidence of compulsive behavior has been low and that they’re generally reversible upon treatment discontinuation or dose reduction. The suggested link between Mirapex use and compulsive behavior is still under examination, however.
Mirapex - Getting Legal Help
Under product liability law, a drug manufacturers have a duty to make their products as reasonably safe as possible, and to inform the medical community and the public of known risks associated with their drugs. If a manufacturer fails to do so, it can be held legally responsible for any patient injuries that result from inadequate warnings or the unreasonably dangerous nature of the drug.
If you or a loved one has experienced any dangerous symptoms or unusual medical conditions while taking Mirapex, you should first contact your doctor or other healthcare professional. You may also wish to meet with an experienced product liability attorney to discuss your options and learn more about any legal claims you may have.