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You are here : 3-RX.com > Home > Drug Abuse - Psychiatry / Psychology -

Man says prescription drug caused gambling problem

Drug Abuse • • Psychiatry / PsychologyJul 10, 08

A former Wall Street banker who said he lost $3 million from compulsive gambling caused by a popular drug used to treat Parkinson’s disease is suing companies involved with the drug for his losses.

The lawsuit, filed in New York State Court on Tuesday, accuses the privately held German drugmaker Boehringer Ingelheim, Pfizer and Pharmacia & Upjohn of breach of warranty, negligence and negligent misrepresentation.

Randolph Simens, 55, said that he took the drug, Mirapex, from 2002 to 2007 after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and suffering hand tremors.

“It put a little tickle in me and then snowballed within a month,” said Simens, who filed the lawsuit in New York State Court on his own because he said he cannot afford a lawyer.

A spokesperson for Pfizer said the company had not marketed Mirapex since 2005, when medical studies first linked the drug to compulsive behaviors, including gambling.

Pfizer said that it had “acted reasonably and appropriately during the entire time period it was involved with Mirapex.”

Mirapex is still sold in the U.S. market and is also prescribed for restless leg syndrome.

The defendants “had a duty to provide adequate warnings and instruction for Mirapex, to use reasonable care to design a product that is not reasonably dangerous to users, and to adequately test their product,” the lawsuit said.

A successful banker, Simens said that he had been a recreational gambler before being prescribed the drug. But he said he quickly became reckless, spending entire nights gambling over the Internet and traveling to casinos.

“It’s stupidity. I just couldn’t stop,” he said.

After reading an article that suggested a link between Mirapex and compulsive behaviors, including gambling, Simens said he felt a wave of relief.

Simens, a father of two, joined a gambler’s support group and, within five weeks of getting off Mirapex, he had stopped gambling, he said.

NEW YORK (Reuters)

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