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Science News

Link to Pergolide (Permax) and Heart Valve Disease

New data from a study published April 10, 2004, in The Lancet reveals that the use of pergolide (Permax) may be associated with a risk for restrictive valvular heart disease.

In this study, which was conducted in Belgium, 78 PD patients treated with pergolide and 18 ďcontrolsĒ underwent an echocardiogram, which was read by an investigator blinded to treatment status. Evidence of restrictive valvular heart disease was recorded in 26 patients (33%) in the pergolide-using group versus none among the controls. Fifteen of the 26 showed a serious level of the disease. The data indicate that heart valve damage associated with the drug is not rare, as had been previously thought.

Pergolide, first marketed in the U.S. in 1989, is approved by the FDA to be used in combination with levodopa and carbidopa (Sinemet) in the management of Parkinsonís disease. Pergolide is a derivative of a natural product known as ergot. The damage to heart valves is similar to that seen with the use of other ergot products.

Dr. Stanley Fahn, H. Houston Merritt professor of neurology at Columbia University, who serves also as PDFís scientific director, advises patients who are taking pergolide to contact their physician and request an echocardiogram to establish whether there is any evidence of heart damage. If there is, your doctor may recommend that you change drugs to an alternative that is a non-ergot derivative.

Source Date: May 05 2004