The Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) approved Dostinex (generic name: cabergoline) to treat hyperprolactinemia, a hormone and blood disorder. European health authorities also approved Dostinex to treat Parkinson’s disease. Although not FDA approved, many U.S. doctors prescribed Dostinex to treat patients with Parkinson’s disease. Unfortunately, Dostinex use in patients with Parkinson’s disease has been linked to severe and sometimes fatal heart valve damage.  

Dostinex Linked to Heart Valve Damage

In January 2007, the New England Journal of Medicine published two studies that linked Dostinex to heart valve damage.

The Italian Study: Dr. Renzo Zanettini and researchers at the Instituti Clinici di Perfezionamento in Milan studied images from 155 patients’ hearts who were taking various Parkinson’s medications. The researchers also studied 90 images of healthy hearts. The study concluded that 29% of patients using Dostinex developed moderate to severe heart valve damage. Only 6% of other patients developed heart valve damage.

The German Study: Dr. Rene Schade from Berlin reviewed records from over 11,000 Parkinson’s patients. The study revealed that Dostinex users were five times more likely to develop heart valve damage than patients not taking Dostinex.

How does Dostinex cause Heart Valve Damage? 

Dostinex increases the body’s dopamine level by producing cells that destroy prolactin (prolactin binds and destroys dopamine). Dostinex may cause heart valve cells to quickly multiply. This can lead to valve thickening, which prevents the heart valves from properly opening and closing. This causes a backflow of blood and may lead to severe and fatal heart valve damage.

Dostinex Heart Valve Damage Symptoms

Dostinex heart valve damage symptoms include:

  • chest pain
  • irregular heartbeats
  • migraine headaches
  • fatigue
  • dizziness
  • abdominal pain (caused by an enlarged liver)

Who is at Risk for Heart Valve Damage?

Dostinex use has been linked to heart valve damage only in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Patients using Dostinex to treat hyperprolactinemia have not experienced increased heart valve damage risk. Experts explain one of the reasons for the difference is that patients with Parkinson’s disease must take Dostinex doses that are 20 to 40 times higher than patients with hyperprolactinemia.

Suffering from Heart Valve Damage?

If you or a loved one developed heart valve damage from Dostinex use, please contact us today. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Published November 17, 2011 by