Man Says Parkinson’s Medication Addicted Him to Sex, Gambling

On behalf of Brown & Crouppen, P.C. posted in Defective Medications on Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A man in France with Parkinson’s disease has filed a lawsuit against GlaxoSmithKline, one of the leading drug manufacturers, saying that one of the company’s drugs made him addicted to sex and online gambling. The symptoms described in the suit are similar to ones included in a fact sheet given to patients taking the drug, but the man’s attorneys said the warning was not available until the year after he stopped taking the medication.

In 2003, according to the lawsuit, the 51-year-old man, a married father of two, began taking Requip, also known as ropinirole, to deal with symptoms of Parkinson’s. Soon after beginning to use Requip, the man’s behavior changed. He began to gamble heavily on the Internet. Gambling losses ate up his family’s savings and forced him to steal to keep up his habit, the lawsuit said.

The man’s appetite for sex also increased, and he allegedly became interested in men. He dressed in women’s clothing and exposed himself over an Internet webcam. He began meeting men for sex and ended up being raped, the suit said. These changes in personality allegedly caused the man to be demoted at his job and caused him psychological trauma. He is seeking $610,000 in compensation from Glaxo and his neurologist for failing to warn him of the possible side effects of taking Requip.

It has been known for some time that ropinirole can cause compulsive behaviors in patients. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists give users a fact sheet warning them that some users experienced intense urges or behaviors, including for sex. But the man’s attorney’s said that the fact sheet did not appear until 2006, the year after the man stopped taking Requip. According to a TIME Magazine article, Glaxo declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Source: TIME Magazine, “Man Claims Parkinson’s Drug Turned Him Into a Gay Sex Addict,” Meredith Melnick, February 1, 2011

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