Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has offered to settle a class action brought by more than 150 patients in Australia who allege they were never warned about the side effects of its Parkinson’s disease drug Cabaser (cabergoline).
The company says it is unable to comment further because the case is still ongoing and the proposed settlement needs to be approved by the Federal Court of Australia.
Cabergoline belongs to the class of drugs known as dopamine agonists — which can cause side effects including impulsive and compulsive behaviour.
“Less than a fifth of people taking dopamine agonists will develop some form of these distressing compulsions, which can range from compulsive gambling to binge eating and hypersexuality,” says Suma Surendranath, professional engagement and education manager for patient charity Parkinson’s UK. “But it is important to stay alert to the warning signs of this behaviour. These drugs can make a huge difference to the lives of many people with Parkinson’s and it is important that people aren’t scared of taking them.”