Thursday, January 04, 2007

Parkinson's drugs linked to heart damage

Patients taking the drugs pergolide, developed by Eli Lilly and sold under the brand name Permax, and cabergoline, developed by Pfizer and sold under the brand Dostinex, had a sharply higher risk of heart valve damage than those taking other therapies, according to a recently released set of studies.

The studies, included one that analyzed stats of 11,417 patients in Britain and one of which tested 245 patients in Italy, reinforce the results of smaller studies showing drugs that activate a cellular receptor known as 5-HT2b can cause damage to the heart valve, a serious condition that can lead to heart failure and sudden death.

The British study showed patients taking pergolide were 7.1 times more likely to develop heart valve damage than those who took other treatments. Patients taking the highest doses of the drug had a 37 times greater risk.

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