Mirapex is the brand name for the generic drug pramipexole. This medication is known to have some of the same effects as dopamine, a chemical that occurs naturally in the body and is often used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS).
Mirapex should only be taken under the care of a physician as it can be life threatening if taken incorrectly. The drug can also cause side effects such as drowsiness, nausea, sweating, hallucinations, feelings of weakness or tiredness, fast or uneven heartbeats and tremors.
Controversially, while Mirapex has been shown to be effective in the treatment of Parkinson’s symptoms, the medication, along with Requip, another dopamine agonist, has also been linked with compulsive behaviours. According to a recent Reuters report, these drugs can triple the odds that Parkinson’s patients will develop impulse control problems.
In a US study of more than 3000 people with Parkinson’s, researchers identified impulsive control disorders in 13.6 percent of patients regularly taking a dopamine agonist. Of these individuals, five percent were struggling with impulsive gambling; 3.5 percent were experiencing compulsive sexual behavior; 5.7 percent had a problem with compulsive buying and 4.3 percent had developed a binge-eating problem.
Four percent of the patients in the study were displaying more than one of these behaviours, and some were struggling with more than two, causing sufferers to weigh the risk of Parkinson’s symptoms against the problems associated with compulsive disorders.