Harvard Heart Letter

Heart Beat: Parkinson's drugs linked to heart valve trouble

Heart Beat

Parkinson's drugs linked to heart valve trouble

Heart valves leak for many reasons, from inborn malformations to age-related wear and tear. Add to the list two drugs that have been commonly used to treat Parkinson's disease "" pergolide (Permax) and cabergoline (Dostinex).

In two European studies, researchers showed a strong connection between leaky mitral, aortic, or tricuspid valves and the use of pergolide or cabergoline, which are in a class of drugs known as dopamine agonists. Other Parkinson's drugs in this class, such as bromocriptine (generic, Parlodel), pramipexole (Mirapex), and ropinirole (Requip) weren't linked to valve problems. The reports appeared in the Jan. 4, 2007, New England Journal of Medicine.

Based on these studies, the makers of pergolide voluntarily withdrew it from the market in March 2007.

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