The pharma giant Pfizer is facing many lawsuits related to side effects of Dostinex as different studies link it with severe heart valve damages. Dostinex is the brand name for cabergoline. It belongs to dopamine receptor antagonists group of drugs. It is used for treatment of hormone imbalance, when this condition creates too much prolactin in blood. The prolactin hormone is released from pituitary gland. Dostinex reduces the amount of prolactin hormone in the blood. It is manufactured by Pfizer, Inc.

Dostinex is used to treat prolactin hormone imbalance in body. It lowers down the high levels of prolactin in the body. This hormone is produced by pituitary gland. High level of prolactin in women can cause many problems such as unwanted breast milk and missed periods. It also poses difficulty in conceiving. Even men can suffer many problems with high level of prolactin. They can suffer from enlargement of breasts and decreased libido. Cabergoline blocks the release of prolactin. When this hormone releases from pituitary gland is blocked, the level of prolactin goes down in blood.

Some people can develop allergic reactions such as shortness of breath, persistent cough, swelling of ankles or feet, unusual tiredness, mental or mood changes such as nervousness, compulsive behavior including urge to gamble, vision changes, painful menstrual periods, breast pain or fainting feeling.

In December 1996, it was approved by the FDA to treat only hyperprolactinemia. Even then many doctors in the United States prescribe Dostinex to patients with Parkinson’s disease. The use of Dostinex in Parkinson’s patients has showed severe and even fatal heart valve damage. This drug was prescribed to approximately 87,000 Americans in 2005. Although Dostinex is prescribed for Parkinson’s disease in Europe, in the United States, it is only approved for treatment of a hormone condition and blood disorder known as hyperprolactinemia.

Many studies have revealed that one of the severe Dostinex side effects is that it could lead to heart valve damage. It increases the risk of heart valve disease causing difficulty in the heart’s functioning. Heart valve failure can cause backward flow of blood. This backflow of blood is known as valve regurgitation. This forces heart to work additionally and could result in serious heart injury or death. Symptoms of heart valve problems may include shortness of breath, fatigue and heart palpitations.

These studies include an Italian study showing that 29% of patients using Dostinex developed moderate-to-severe heart valve damage. A German study showed that Dostinex users were five times more likely to develop heart valve damage than patients not taking Dostinex. A British study also related this drug to heart valve damage. It revealed that 19% of patients taking Dostinex developed heart valve damage. It was 5-7% higher than patients who did not take Dostinex.

Another dopamine agonist drug Permax has been linked to the same side effects. FDA issued a Permax recall in March 2007. But the FDA has not recalled the Dostinex yet and nor intended to do so in near future. It has directed doctors to not prescribe this drug to Parkinson’s dieses and prescribe it at much lower doses. But it did not stop many sufferers to file cases against Pfizer related to Dostinex side effects.