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Report Ties Parkinson's Drugs to Gambling

Mayo Clinic Doctors Report 11 Cases in Medical Journal

Boehringer Ingelheim's Response continued...

"We didn't see cases of this during the clinical development of the product," says O'Connor.

"There's not yet scientific evidence of a causal effect between a specific product and this behavior," she says.

"I think that the important thing in Parkinson's disease is to remember that it's a terrible condition and people need medication in order to manage their condition," says O'Connor.

"From our perspective, Mirapex has brought significant, meaningful symptom relief to many people with Parkinson's disease. And I think it's important to keep that in mind," she says.

GlaxoSmithKline's Response

"Our overall sense about this study is that we don't think there's a causal connection between [Requip] and compulsive gambling that was established by this study," Holly Russell, GlaxoSmithKline's product communications director, tells WebMD.

"It's a small, uncontrolled study of 11 patients, some of whom were on concomitant medications, including levodopa," she says.

"Only two patients were on [Requip] -- one with and one without levodopa," says Russell.

"We have looked carefully at our controlled clinical data, and we've looked at the FDA database of reports of adverse events, and at this time, there isn't sufficient evidence to indicate an association [between] compulsive gambling and the use of [Requip]."

Pattern Didn't Include Levodopa

Three of the patients were not treated with another drug, levodopa. It is the most commonly prescribed drug for controlling Parkinson's disease. Levodopa is transported to the nerve cells in the brain that produce dopamine. It is then converted into dopamine for the nerve cells to use as a neurotransmitter.

"None developed new gambling or an increase in gambling while [only taking] levodopa," write the researchers.

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