Corante

About this Author
DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: derekb.lowe@gmail.com Twitter: Dereklowe

Chemistry and Drug Data: Drugbank
Emolecules
ChemSpider
Chempedia Lab
Synthetic Pages
Organic Chemistry Portal
PubChem
Not Voodoo
DailyMed
Druglib
Clinicaltrials.gov

Chemistry and Pharma Blogs:
Org Prep Daily
The Haystack
Kilomentor
A New Merck, Reviewed
Liberal Arts Chemistry
Electron Pusher
All Things Metathesis
C&E News Blogs
Chemiotics II
Chemical Space
Noel O'Blog
In Vivo Blog
Terra Sigilatta
BBSRC/Douglas Kell
ChemBark
Realizations in Biostatistics
Chemjobber
Pharmalot
ChemSpider Blog
Pharmagossip
Med-Chemist
Organic Chem - Education & Industry
Pharma Strategy Blog
No Name No Slogan
Practical Fragments
SimBioSys
The Curious Wavefunction
Natural Product Man
Fragment Literature
Chemistry World Blog
Synthetic Nature
Chemistry Blog
Synthesizing Ideas
Business|Bytes|Genes|Molecules
Eye on FDA
Chemical Forums
Depth-First
Symyx Blog
Sceptical Chymist
Lamentations on Chemistry
Computational Organic Chemistry
Mining Drugs
Henry Rzepa


Science Blogs and News:
Bad Science
The Loom
Uncertain Principles
Fierce Biotech
Blogs for Industry
Omics! Omics!
Young Female Scientist
Notional Slurry
Nobel Intent
SciTech Daily
Science Blog
FuturePundit
Aetiology
Gene Expression (I)
Gene Expression (II)
Sciencebase
Pharyngula
Adventures in Ethics and Science
Transterrestrial Musings
Slashdot Science
Cosmic Variance
Biology News Net


Medical Blogs
DB's Medical Rants
Science-Based Medicine
GruntDoc
Respectful Insolence
Diabetes Mine


Economics and Business
Marginal Revolution
The Volokh Conspiracy
Knowledge Problem


Politics / Current Events
Virginia Postrel
Instapundit
Belmont Club
Mickey Kaus


Belles Lettres
Uncouth Reflections
Arts and Letters Daily
In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

In the Pipeline

« What's French for "Trust Us"? | Main | But At My Back I Always Hear. . . »

February 26, 2006

Tied to the Mast

Email This Entry

Posted by Derek

Some readers will have already come across reports suggesting that some drugs for Parkinson's disease can lead to odd behavioral problems, including compulsive gambling. Given their effects on dopaminergic pathways, which seem to be involved in stimulus/reward behavior, it's a believable effect. (Actually, as I mentioned the other day, just about anything is a believable side effect with CNS drugs, especially at low rates of incidence).

Now (via Overlawyered) comes a case from Texas. A (once)-wealthy retiree named Max Wells is suing GlaxoSmithKline over their Requip drug (ropinirole), claiming that he wasn't warned that the drug could cause compulsive behavior. His particular compulsive behavior took place in Las Vegas, a city well equipped for it, and involved the loss of some 14 million dollars.

As the Austin newspaper story has it, Wells had started on another Parkinson's drug, Mirapex, in 2004 and lost several thousand dollars gambling, both online and in Vegas. (As it turns out, Boehringer Ingleheim is being sued over that drug, too, for similar reasons). He told his doctor about the problem, and was switched to Requip, which is when things apparently really started to roll.

Wells is also suing at least seven casinos, claiming that they knew that he was taking Parkinson's medication and should have been aware that he had a problem. I think these suits have even less of a chance, because casinos have been sued many times on similar "they should have stopped me" grounds. I recall a Philadelphia businessman in the early 1990s who took an Atlantic City casino to court because of his losses at his favorite game, which was high-stakes blackjack played with the aid of a bottle of bourbon. The casino, he contended, knew that he was impaired and should never have allowed him to continue. This argument didn't make much headway, as you'd probably guess.

This Parkinsonian case is a bit different, but I don't think it's going to get very far. It might bring up interesting questions about free will and human behavior, but no court is going to want to wade into that philosophical swamp. If the facts are as stated, the case will surely be decided on more practical grounds: why Wells didn't go back to his doctor when he started compulsively gambling again on the new medication instead of spending the next several months ripping through millions of dollars, and how casinos are not required to evaluate the motives of their customers.

Comments (6) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: The Central Nervous System


COMMENTS

1. Anonymous on February 27, 2006 1:37 PM writes...

Here's an article that came out yesterday which may be of interest

http://www.boston.com/yourlife/health/diseases/articles/2006/02/25/parkinsons_profile_suggested_hard_workers_straight_arrows/?page=full

Permalink to Comment

2. SkookumPlanet on February 27, 2006 3:59 PM writes...

Five weeks ago I started taking Requip for a sudden intensification of what had been sporadic, manageable Restless Leg Syndrome that disturbed sleep. It's been successful therapy.

About the same time I discovered science blogging. Reading them is quite pleasurable and I find myself repeatedly doing that daily now, to the detriment of what I should be doing.

Do I have a case?

Permalink to Comment

3. Kim on February 28, 2006 9:42 AM writes...

Hmmm...if the court cases against the casinos go to judgement, I forsee a great new business opportunity - rapid turn-around drug testing at the casino entrance. If you show up positive for any "compulsive behavior" drugs, you don't get in! Great protection for the casino, no excuse for the excessive spending by the gambler. However, what happens to the casino's income?

Permalink to Comment

4. kieth nissen on February 28, 2006 4:52 PM writes...

If he had won some money he probably would have returned it to the casinos once he knew what was going on.

Permalink to Comment

5. Meccashat on April 11, 2006 5:51 PM writes...

I know it seems like these are people trying to just make a quick buck. But I have a friend who lost all she had when she started taking this stuff. She went from being a churchgoing catholic to a raging vegas regular almost overnight. And then we did some research on the internet and there are a lot of websites out there that also put mirapex and gambling together. It may seems like a stretch until you see one of your best friends lose their house.

Permalink to Comment

6. PETE Harvey on June 15, 2007 4:23 PM writes...

I RETIRED AS CORPORATE EXEC WITH A LARGE COMPANY.MEVER WENT TO A CASINO. STARTED TAKING REQUIP FOR PARKINSONS AND QUICKLY BECAME A COMPULSIVE GAMBLER. STOPPED TAKING REQUIP AND DESIRE TO GAMBLE STOPPED. THERE IS NO QUESTION IT WAS CAUSED BY REQUIP. IT WAS NOIT ABOUT WINNING OR LOSING BUT THE EXCITE OF PUNCHING THE SLOT BUTTON. E MAIL ME IF YOU WANT TO CHAT ABOUT IT.

Permalink to Comment

POST A COMMENT




Remember Me?



EMAIL THIS ENTRY TO A FRIEND

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):




RELATED ENTRIES
XKCD on Protein Folding
The 2014 Chemistry Nobel: Beating the Diffraction Limit
German Pharma, Or What's Left of It
Sunesis Fails with Vosaroxin
A New Way to Estimate a Compound's Chances?
Meinwald Honored
Molecular Biology Turns Into Chemistry
Speaking at Northeastern