Mirapex is used to increase dopamine levels in the brain. It is prescribed to treat conditions such as Parkinson’s disease where there are low levels of dopamine. Mirapex has also been prescribed to treat restless legs syndrome (RLS) and is thought to improve a patient’s ability to function in everyday activities. It was approved in 1997 by the FDA. Mirapex is classified as a dopamine agonist.
Mirapex and other drugs that work to increase dopamine levels in the brain have been linked to serious side effects such as compulsive behavior. Since its approval, there have been a number of reports of patients who experienced compulsive behavior after having no history of such occurrences.
Many patients report uncontrollable urges such as compulsive gambling, shopping addiction and eating disorders. In one study published in Neurology, 1,800 Parkinson’s patients were surveyed for a year. Of the 529 who took Mirapex, eight developed a gambling addiction. In another study, it was shown that patients reported gambling losses of over $60,000. For many patients, this condition improved when Mirapex was discontinued.
Uncontrollable sleepiness has also been reported in patients who have taken Mirapex. According to research conducted by the Mayo Clinic, 22 percent of people on the drug reported episodes of uncontrolled sleep, such as falling asleep while driving.
Because of these side effects, the Mirapex label was changed to warn patients. The label states that Mirapex side effects could include “accidents (including fall), compulsive behaviors (sexual and pathological gambling), fatigue, hallucinations (all kinds), headache, hypotension, libido disorder, syncope, and blackouts.”
Serious side effects may include:
- Extreme drowsiness, falling asleep suddenly, even after feeling alert
- Nausea, sweating, feeling light-headed, fainting
- Muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness with fever or flu symptoms and dark colored urine
- Chest discomfort, dry cough, feeling short of breath
- Feeling weak or tired, loss of appetite, rapid weight loss
- Fast or uneven heartbeats
- Tremors, twitching or uncontrollable movements of your eyes, lips, tongue, face, arms, or legs
Less serious Mirapex side effects may include:
- Dry mouth, stomach pain, vomiting, constipation
Headache, dizziness, spinning sensation
- Mild drowsiness
- Swelling in your hands or feet
- Appetite or weight changes
- Blurred Vision
- Sleep problems (insomnia), unusual dreams
- Amnesia, forgetfulness, thinking problems
- Impotence, loss of interest in sex, or trouble having an orgasm