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Mirapex Side Effects for Restless Leg Syndrome: A Trip to Hell

My sister has been to hell and back as a result of the medication Mirapex, which she was taking for restless leg syndrome.

Many drugs can add considerably to quality of life, but Mirapex may not be one of them. Photo by Ragesoss

Many drugs can add considerably to quality of life, but Mirapex may not be one of them. Photo by Ragesoss

RLS and Mirapex

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a not uncommon condition wherein the person has an almost uncontrollable urge to move their legs. It very often results in a severe loss of sleep; people suffering from RLS often spend the night simply pacing the floor to alleviate the symptoms.

Mirapex, or Mirapex-ER, is manufactured by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals and is widely used to help combat Parkinson's Disease and RLS. The primary ingredient is Pramipexole, which has a decided effect on the dopamine receptors of the brain. The exact mechanism of the drug is unknown.

Unfortunately, Mirapex has quite a range of side effects, many of which are quite unpleasant.

Mirapex Side Effects

The side effects of Mirapex are numerous and varied. The website of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals lists the following possible side effects:

  • nausea or vomiting
  • sleepiness
  • hallucinations
  • constipation
  • insomnia
  • muscle weakness
  • confusion

Many other side effects are listed, as well. Other sites, such as, list additional side effects, including a propensity to become addicted to gambling. It is this addiction that has prompted this article.

RLS runs in my own family and my sister has suffered for years from this condition. She has taken Mirapex for years with generally good luck in controlling the symptoms. Unfortunately, it has also led to a gambling addiction. It has been a most insidious evolution, proceeding so slowly that it was not noticed until far too late. It has been a most unpleasant experience.

Our strong family relationships have helped my sister through her trials to the point that she is now recovering, although at tremendous cost financially, emotionally, and physically. She has asked that her story be told in the hopes that even one other person be saved from such an experience.

In this article, I share my sister's journey into her personal hell. There are also some suggestions for alternatives to Mirapex. If you are taking this dangerous drug, please take note and consider discussing a change with your doctor.

Your home on one side; one more spin of the wheel on the other.

Your home on one side; one more spin of the wheel on the other.

A Bad Trip With Mirapex Side Effects

A few weeks ago I received an email from my sister (let's call her Sis) to the effect that she wanted the rest of the family to know she was in trouble. We all knew of her RLS, but the bad news was that she had become a compulsive gambler. Sis lives only a few miles from a casino and visited often with her husband, mostly for a good meal. Gambling was never a reason to go there but that all changed.

Gambling was now the major, if not the only, reason to visit the casino. All-night stays, while telling the family she was working late, were not uncommon. Completely unable to leave until every dime was gone, she soon gambled away nearly everything she and her husband had worked for over the years. Bankruptcy was imminent.

When her gambling was discovered it nearly cost her her marriage—but her husband has stuck it out through the trials. Eventually, the connection between Mirapex (Sis had been taking it for several years) and compulsive gambling was discovered, and that has helped the family situation. It is difficult to believe or understand how a drug can cause such a radical change, but both her immediate and extended family have come to understand and support her. Other similar tales posted on the internet have helped all of us understand the problem a little better.

Nevertheless, the shame of the constant lies and sneaking out to gamble, the financial wreckage the gambling has caused in her life, and the overwhelming depression caused by no longer taking Mirapex has been debilitating. You see, Mirapex is very addictive, and the sudden loss of dopamine results in severe depression as well as other serious withdrawal symptoms. Of course, the RLS has come back as well, and Sis is trying to put her life back together on just three or four hours of sleep each night, while simultaneously suffering through withdrawal from the medication.

At this point in her recovery, Sis is in a very dangerous situation. She walks the floor for much of the night alone, in pain from constant headaches and severely depressed. She has had one relapse of gambling after thinking she'd conquered the addiction—and that certainly doesn't help the depression nor the shame. Even knowing that such activity is caused by the drug, it is still impossible not to feel that shame, and this worsens the depression.

It is a living hell that Sis is going through right now, and it is likely to continue for weeks or even months to come. The symptoms are expected to gradually lessen, but they will likely be with her for a long time to come.

Alternatives to Mirapex

There are actually quite a few alternatives to Mirapex, including non-drug options. Stopping smoking, and decreasing or eliminating the use of alcohol or caffeine may all help. Hot baths, gentle exercise (mainly stretching exercises) and massage may give some relief. Many home remedies such as apple cider vinegar, blackstrap molasses, or baking soda have been reported as viable options to drugs.

If prescription drugs are necessary, however, there are still several alternatives to Mirapex. Ropinirole has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of RLS. Gabapentin has been found to be helpful and there are many others that are useful for intermittent symptoms.

If your doctor refuses to consider any treatment other than a drug that can alter your mind and personality to the point that you throw away everything you own in compulsive gambling, then run, don't walk, to another doctor. This strange and terrible Mirapex side effect is well documented; this article is but one of many from people that have lost everything to a Mirapex side effect of compulsive gambling addiction.

The mental changes that Mirapex can bring about are stealthy and subtle, including both cognitive and personality changes. No one really questions a decision to buy a lottery ticket this week, but next week it might be a couple of them. Over years the urge for this kind of reckless spending increases deceptively, a little at a time until cars, homes, and even families are lost. Loved ones cannot understand just how it happened or why, and neither can the gambler. He or she just can't get up from the table until the money is all gone. Shame keeps them quiet and hiding it at the same time as they keep losing more and more until the destruction or loss of everything they have is complete. As a drug side effect, it is something few people would ever consider but Mirapex has made this dangerous side effect a reality for far too many people. Please don't become one of them; if you are taking Mirapex find an alternative that works for you. It may take time, it may require some physical discomfort and it may be costly, but none of that compares to the hell that a compulsive gambler and their family go through.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2011 Dan Harmon


Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on November 19, 2017:

So sorry to hear of yet another victim. And sorry as well to hear you have been unable to get off of Mirapex; take great care, my friend, and remain vigilant.

Annie on November 19, 2017:

Sufferers of RLS who used Mirapex with compulsive side effects were 'abusing the drug?' There is no need to abuse this drug and there is no street value, one gets no high from taking it. The side effects (as above) are many, not pretty and as is now known, you can add compulsive behaviors, especially gambling, to that list.

I suffered none of those effects so to me, the med was perfectly safe in that it controlled my RLS. All meds tried before and after Mirapex had most of the side effects listed above, the major one-and it was major, being unrelenting nausea.

Gambling? It's onset was so insidious that I didn't notice it nor did I have reason to notice it. There was no physician asking me if I had known or felt uncontrollable urges, our bank account wasn't being drained alerting my husband and at that point in time Boehringer Ingleheim was still sitting on the knowledge that Mirapex has the potential compulsive side effects knowledge. Their package inserts weren't alerting physicians or patients.

Why? I don't know but can only suspect that revelation of such in package inserts or the literature would only serve to drive thousands away from it's miracle control, RLS drug.

Finally, when I was no longer able to pay my credit card bills, I connected the dots and read the literature. I owned full responsibility for running through my considerable retirement savings.

Knowing that I had been wrong, but knowing that BI had been just as wrong, I consulted and after much soul searching, began legal proceedings. There was question whether this would meet the statute of limitations. I was not able to recoup losses after package inserts listed compulsive gambling as a known potential adverse reaction. As Dan correctly mentioned below, physicians only know what drug companies tell them about a med.

We successfully sued the drug manufacturers in an individual suit with a and have to say that that time period was not my proudest. However, I believe I had been wronged during the manufacturers pursuit to profit off their drug.

No longer taking Mirapex? I tried like heck to get off the med, with alternatives that didn't control the RLS and had the unwanted side effects. So many years later, I still take Mirapex, completely aware of it's powerful potential, so I'm 'quadrupally' cautious.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on November 18, 2017:

Doubtful. A class action has been won, with hundreds or thousands of victims gaining awards for their suffering. They were not all drug abusers.

Gene on November 18, 2017:

I have had nothing but good results from maripex,maybe these people were abusing the drog

Catherinr on August 06, 2017:

I have severe muscle cramps in peroneus muscles dr at pain management prescribed mirapex I took one the first night. Had a horrible night. Dreams sweating stomach ache and when I finally got up next a m I was so weak I couldn't make my leg muscles work. My stomach hurt so badly. Chills took over Later in day I finally started vomiting and immediately felt better.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on June 04, 2017:

I think you hit the nail with the car recall. The notice didn't come from the dealer that sold it to you, it came from Toyota. The dealer didn't know anything was wrong with the car, but Toyota sure did!

Same with doctors. They know only what the drug company tells them - we don't expect every physician to do an independent study of every drug. And if the maker of Mirapex doesn't tell the doctor it causes compulsive gambling (and they didn't) then the doctor can't tell you.

Take care of yourself, Heather, and your sister. You CAN beat this!

HeatherMH on June 04, 2017:

Hi Dan,

Thank you for your kind words, and I hope your sister is doing better. I can see my sister walking the same path as I have been, but she has to take the steps of getting off of it, as I have done.

I do understand what you are saying, and I truly love my doctor (well did); BUT, I have read on both as well as the FDA guidelines on Mirapex that a prescribing physician is supposed to advise the patient/caregiver on this side effect and follow up on it, which she never did, as well as other, like falling asleep, which a I had done many times and her advice was to lower the dose. My physicians office had us fill out forms on who they could talk to about your medical issues (a totally different form than that of HIPPA or advanced directive). I actually stumbled on the information about Mirapex back in December after constantly asking myself "why was I acting like this or behaving in such a reckless manner" and had looked up compulsive gambling (as the ads for compulsive gambling are in an ad right after they advertise to by lottery tickets) and I read that "if you are taking prescription medications for Parkinson's or RLS, you are more prone to be a compulsive gambler", which I honestly thought was the silliest thing I had every heard... not now.... I was in my physician's office within one week of reading to get off of this med, and when I asked "why wasn't I ever advised about the side effects" (as they tell me when there is a chance of diarrhea, headaches, etc, but not these behaviors), she quickly told me that I was prescribed that before she came on board... and she left the practice three weeks ago...

I am not trying to argue, I guess I feel that it is not fair. They are supposed to be your "advocate of care" and you put your health in their trusting hands. They are given supplements from the pharmaceutical companies when things are added on...

Look at it this way... how many automobiles has Toyota sold... I have one... and bought it used... but when there is a recall notice, I have received it... The drug companies make enough $$ off of all of us, and should be able to send out warnings when things are added. We used to get coupons years ago, towards our copays, and if they could find us then for us to buy products, then they should be able to send out notices/red flags when things are found out.

I'm sorry to rant... I am sure you family has been to Hell and back, and you really don't need to hear me ranting on and on...

Thanks for listening though


Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on June 04, 2017:

So sorry to hear of your problems, Heather. This drug has destroy many families with its insidious side effects, that's for sure.

It's hard to blame a doctor, though - they cannot possibly keep up with ALL the drugs out there and in any case are limited to what the manufacturer tells them. If there is no mention of gambling addiction the doctor will not know of it without in depth investigation and they simply cannot do that every time they prescribe a drug. A catch 22, in a way - we can't expect our doctor to know everything while at the same time thinking they SHOULD know it all.

Wishing you well with your recovery, and surely hope you can convince your sister that it isn't worth ruining a life over. There ARE options even though they may not work as well.

HeatherMH on June 04, 2017:

It's a real shame that there is a "time limit" as far as those that have been taking Mirapex for so long. This has completely destroyed our home, as well as my sister is on the same med and is in the same boat.... Funny thing, (well not so funny) is my sister and I have not really communicated over the last 4+ years until this past year; live in the same town, both worked doing the same kind of job from home, but kept to ourselves due to a family squabble; but, both within the same time frame, have the same problem with Mirapex. My poor parents that are trying to help both of us; I am just about off of Mirapex after having to google every bit of information, as the docs are not very forthcoming with getting off of them and the side effects, and my sister that has her heels planted firmly that there isn't anything else that she can take and is going to go down with the sinking gambling ship.

I for one, was never warned of the side effects. I am in the process of getting my medical records to see exactly when I started taking it; but where is the physician's responsibility after a mind altering medication is prescribed?

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on March 06, 2017:

Thank you, teamrn, for sharing your own experience here. Like you, Sis successfully sued some time after this article was written and has regained some of her losses. Of course, nothing can replace the loss of trust or self-respect; only time can heal that.

Please do be very, very careful in the future. Even though you now understand the dangers, it is awfully easy to slip just a little, then a little more and a little more. Even a lottery ticket, available everywhere, could be the beginning. You might do some reading on RLS as well - there are actions and activities that can help and there are some that hurt. Good luck with your future!

teamrn on March 06, 2017:

HEED THIS any of you taking Mirapex. I took Mirapex for my RLS and it controlled it quite nicely. Then came the trip to the casinos in Las Vegas and I didn't understand why I loved the gambling so much, but I never put two and two together.

It wasn't until I had spent nearly $400,000 dollars (I had quite a bit socked away for my future) that I read and began to think. WHY? I didn't have a compulsive bone in my body until then.

I also had quite a forgiving and understanding husband. This wasn't the cause of our going bankrupt a few years later, but that $ would definitely cushioned the blow.

I sucessfully sued Boehringer Ingleheim for NOT including information about this side effect on their package inserts for several years after they KNEW of this side effect, so prescribing physicians would have some idea, or I could have had a warning.

Unfotunately, I tried other meds but none sucessfully like Mirapex/pramipexole. All the other medications have had side effects, the biggest of which is tremendous nausea and they didn't control the RLS.

I'm now back on the Mirapex, but there is acute awareness of what it CAN DO. And what it can do is so REAL; don't ever let anyone tell you, "its all in your head." or "what a cop-out"

But, hypervigilance about what it is that Mirapex can do, how it can run my life causes me to get up every morning and TELL IT, "I'M THE BOSS TODAY" There is self discipline and I've had a few relapses, but Mirapex CAN run your life and RUIN your life. It is NOT HARMLESS AND I RESPECT ALL YOUR SISTER HAS GONE THROUGH.

So, if your telling your story and your sister telling her story gives support to those who of us who need the info and to those uf us who gain strengh from telling our stories, so be it. Please realized that not all people who gamble do it because they have weak 'characters.' That was the worst shame and still is the worst shame and it has torn my family apart.

Big-D on March 05, 2017:

what people dont realize is that mirapex mechanism works exactly as amphetamines and adderall, a well known physician known in the world, was trying to get me off 39 years of abusing amphetamines and put me on an anti-parkinson drug called amantadine, which effects the dopamine neurotransmitter which effects the nucieous acumbens part of the brain which is responsible for the need for reward and gratification. sad to say IT WORKED! but cant get off it, yet its not a controlled substacne, the dr. also used this method to get celebrities and popular football players from the RAMS to DALLAS COWBOYS! some times the cure is worse that the cause.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on March 09, 2014:

Alcohol is a fairly common trigger, as is caffeine and smoking. And it certainly does help to find those triggers and limit them as much as possible.

Annie on March 09, 2014:

RLS is one of the many sleep disorders. My RLS seems to act up if I've had some alcohol; however, there are times hen no alcohol has been involved and it flares. keep a diary and eventually yo'll learn your triggers. That way you may be more likely to right the wrong and then find a medication. An alternative.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on March 08, 2014:

MJB, one of the things you must do is educate yourself on getting off of Mirapex, and doubly so if the doctor isn't interested in helping. There is considerable dissension on whether it should be cold turkey or taper off. Some of the problems of quitting were listed in the comments from "Sissyjane", my sister who helped me write this hub and who it is about.

MJB1979 on March 07, 2014:

Thank both of you for all the information. I might try to contact Stuart or Marlene before I leave Tuesday morning to inpatient. I am really hoping to learn a lot and am prepared to educate myself as much as I can. It will be interesting to see if they will work with me on the drugs or if I will have to smile and nod and then take myself off the mirapex after I get home. I am not sure if I will be there 3, 4, or 5 weeks. Heck, they will probably issue me a straight jacket and throw away the key. I will fill you guys in when I get back. I agree with both of you. I need to be off this stuff!! Thanks again!

Annie on March 07, 2014:

FOR ANYONE WANTING TO TALK TO AN ATTY ABOUT MIRAPEX LAW Periodically, I keep in touch with Stuart or Marlene Goldenberg, Stuart litigated my case successfully and his daughter Marlene was a young law intern at that time and was assigned to my case,

Marlene and I spent countless hours on the phone getting the records her Dad told her to get. She just sent an e-mail to me this eve as someone from their firm had contacted me and I'd mentioned this discussion on HubPages. This was part of her response:

"As for Mirapex, my guess is that the statute of limitations has probably run, but I am always happy to speak with someone and answer questions if I can help. I think about those cases often- you were one of my very first clients, so I'll always remember your case. "

So, there you have it; Marlene isn't sure about the statute, but would be more than happy to speak with anyone who has questions and direct them.Marlene and Stuart and their whole firm were always so genuine that I don't think that Marlene would charge for a chat. Their website:

They have an online chat , as well as an online CONTACT FORM at:

Also, wilderness, can't be possible: I'm disabled and don't get out to the grocery to use the old budget $$ (heck, there no longer is a budget!).(We do the food pantry)'. As far as pawning the TV, I aught before t, and now, I jets don't have the urge.Then again, I don't think that not having taken Mirapex would have prevented bankruptcy. Yes, we will rebuild our lives, I'm sure of that.

But, If you have questions , about Mirapex gambling or other product liability, call Marlene. Or I imagine one or that a paralegal or Stuart would speak to you There all so personable and from me they get A+++ rating!

MJB1979 Neupro IS indicated for RLS. The manufacturer has a website at"

but the site I'd visit for information is: a WebMD site which says that it is a transdermal system (usually that means it is a patch). It appears to hold a lot of promise for RLS, so I'd ask the doctor about it. Annie

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on March 07, 2014:

I think you're right on all counts, Annie, except possibly the bankruptcy isn't a factor in not gambling. Certainly it would be very unlikely to stop the urge, and the compulsion is generally so strong that even the few dollars in the kitchen budget disappear into the maw of the Casino. Or the TV is pawned and the money spent gambling.

But the rest - I think that it is probably a combination of all, particularly the decrease in Mirapex and probably the addition of Klonepin. I'm certainly glad that things are working out for you, even though bankruptcy was necessary. You CAN rebuild your life and move on from this, and I've no doubt you will do just that.

Annie on March 07, 2014:

Several things could be in play Wilderness.

The dose of Mirapex fluctuates

The addition of Klonepin to my regimen to complement my decrease

in Mirapex may be working,

Once Klonepin was started, the unwanted movement in my "Air Cast"

stopped the movement dead in their tracks.

Or, it could be something as simple as our declaring bankruptcy and

our having NO money (to gamble) that is now making it easy

But, I find myself not sneaking around my husband's back. I'm list not interested, but if you got me in casino, but I'd now be able to set my limit and leave, not rob the family piggy bank. I don't know how many tears were involved in my journey, but if there is one thing that I can say to someone, is that it may not be Klonepin that is your 'magic pill" (and if may not mine either, but you're a good human being and you don't

deserve the judgements, derisiveness from those close to you. Mirapex doesn't bother some, but if it bothers you (this requires a LOT of self-talk), in a local group, online support group, ask your neurologist if he'd consider a holiday (or a lowered dose) of Mirapex and a trial of Klonepin. (Or my experience with klonepin has just been a fluke) Annie

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on March 06, 2014:

MJB, my own RLS is very minor and I take nothing. My sister, the lady referenced in the article, has it much worse but it is mostly under control now. Not with Mirapex, but I am not positive what the latest is as far as her treatment.

It will likely be different for you anyway, and only a doctor willing to work with you can help here. It is quite possible that it will take more than one or two tries to find something that works; it will not be easy, but the end results are worth almost any effort if you can get off of Mirapex and lead a more normal life without severe effects of RLS.

I would suggest that you also check the internet for more natural solutions - a few are listed near the end of the article but there are more out there. Not saying that exercise or diet will do the job, but it could very well help when a different drug is tried and who knows? It might just work without drugs at all.

MJB1979 on March 06, 2014:

I am on Mirapex for severe RLS. My grandmother and my mother had it and both my children have it. My children are in their 40's. My son takes Neurotin and it cover is 100%. I tried Permax and Neurotin and both gave me bad allergic reactions. Did it make a difference on how much you were taking at the time or did any in your system do the same? I am HOPING, since there is a doctor at the facility, that he/she will work with me on a different drug that does not cause the compulsiveness. My daughter sent me a list of different drugs and one is call Neupro?

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on March 06, 2014:

Annie, I don't mean to minimize the effects of RLS and sincerely apologize if the post came through that way. But I've seen first hand the results of that drug, as have you, and know that there are alternatives from diet to other prescriptions that can be tried.

Your post is a bit confusing (something went wrong and duplicated part of it) but it sounds as if you have found one of those alternatives yourself. I say that partially because it sounds as if the gambling compulsion is gone, and that doesn't seem possible while still on normal dosages of Mirapex.

Annie on March 06, 2014:

Wilderness, you say you MUST get off Mirapex. Sometimes it isn't that easy. I tried so many substitutes and we'd try, try, try and each time we felt a Stalevo or any number of hundreds of meds 9WELL, NOT HUNDREDS, but it seemed that we were always headed to Walgreens for that magic pill to replace Mirapex, and all my hopes would be dashed when the only effect was serious nausea and NO effect on the RLS.

Then this fall, I had surgery on my ankle and it was in an air cast and had to be COMPLETELY IMMOBILE inside that cast. You can imagine how immobile it wasn't and quite by accident, a doc prescribed klonepin because he felt what I was experiencing was muscle spasms. I still take the Mirapex (at a much lower does) and have had no urges since October.

It doesn't matter, either, because I couldn't gamble if I wanted (we're enter in bankruptcy in a few weeks), but I have no urges and could walk by the Wildhorse. Sure I could go in-OR NOT and I'd easily be able to limit myself to $20. Was I misdiagnosed? Try clone pin-it was a suggestion made by another RN friend of mine who works in peds. They use Klonepin in kids for RLS.elt a Stalevo or any number of hundreds of meds 9WELL, NOT HUNDREDS, but it seemed that we were always headed to Walgreens for that magic pill to replace Mirapex, and all my hopes would be dashed when the only effect was serious nausea and NO effect on the RLS.

Then this fall, I had surgery on my ankle and it was in an air cast and had to be COMPLETELY IMMOBILE inside that cast. You can imagine how immobile it wasn't and quite by accident, a doc prescribed klonepin because he felt what I was experiencing was muscle spasms. I still take the Mirapex (at a much lower does) and have had no urges since October.

It doesn't matter, either, because I couldn't gamble if I wanted (we're enter in bankruptcy in a few weeks), but I have no urges and could walk by the Wildhorse. Sure I could go in-OR NOT and I'd easily be able to limit myself to $20. Was I misdiagnosed? Try clone pin-it was a suggestion made by another RN friend of mine who works in peds. They use Klonepin in kids for RLS.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on March 06, 2014:

So sorry to hear of your reaction to Mirapex and the results of taking it. You should understand, though, that treatment for gambling is probably not going to help much as long as you are taking the drug, but if the experiences of others holds true for you as well getting off the drug will immediately stop the urge to gamble.

You don't say why you are on the drug, but if it is for RLS, there are alternatives; if your doctor will not work with you here, you must find another doctor, and as quickly as possible or your treatment is likely to be ineffective. You MUST get off of Mirapex.

Although I've never stopped there, I've driven past the Wildhorse many times. Wishing you the best on your trip and getting by the Casino.

MJB1979 on March 06, 2014:

I am new on this site. I started Mirapex in 2005 and am going into inpatient treatment for gambling this next Tuesday. I had been to the casinos off and on before and would spend my $20 and leave happily. I don't know when it changed. Somewhere around 2007. We are filing for bankruptcy and I have taken the action to do what I need to stop. I am hoping in the inpatient program that they can try some other drugs that are in a different class. I tried Neuroten, which works well for my son, and I had an allergic reaction. I am assuming that I have no recourse also because of the time and the changes the company made on the label. I am in the 60's and want this urge that will cause you to drive miles just to get a fix, to stop! After I get out, we are actually taking a trip to Boise to do some visiting. Just getting past the Wildhorse Casino in Pendleton will be difficult.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on February 24, 2014:

It can happen that way, I know. But still, if you both keep fighting, doing what you can and keep the job hunt going, he'll find work. There ARE jobs out there, and it's getting better each month. It will come together for you.

teamrn from Chicago on February 24, 2014:

He can't retire, I do have income, but it is from social security disability, I put in a lot of quarters, so it is higher than most SSD incomes, but we are not eligible for much because of that.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on February 24, 2014:

Never give up and it WILL happen. The economy has hurt a great many people very badly - I was fortunate enough to retire when it became apparent that no one wanted a laid-off 63 year old electrician, but the last few years were rough.

teamrn from Chicago on February 23, 2014:

We keep hoping just thaw very thoughts. I'm on disability and hubby hasn't worked for 3 years due to economy

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on February 23, 2014:

I am so sorry to hear that, teamrn, and can but hope you have a brighter future ahead. Like so many others, your learning curve has been a horrible and hurtful experience. With your knowledge, however, and constant care and attention, you can recover. Not tomorrow and not next month or even next year, but you CAN rebuild your life.

teamrn from Chicago on February 23, 2014:

I am controlling the side effects, no other me works, but we are broke now and declaring bankruptcy this week. BEWARE OF THIS MED. When it is good it is very, very good, BUT WHEN IT IS BAD, IT IS HORRID!

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on February 23, 2014:

Thanks for the information, teamrn, and I hope that you are still able to control the side effects as well as you reported a year ago. I can't imagine what that is like, having to be eternally vigilante, and surely wish you the best.

teamrn from Chicago on February 23, 2014:

All I know was that I was able to recoip losses sustained from when I started taking Mirpex, to the day the warning label went on

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on February 22, 2014:

I see. That makes some sense if they are putting a warning label on now - consumers do have some responsibility as well as the manufacturer, after all.

teamrn from Chicago on February 21, 2014:

Nope, the courts will not grant any restitution for gambling once the warning was placed on the product label. So, unless you're given a bottle NOW that mistakenly does not include the product information, even though you're being prescribed the med for the first time, the statute of limitations for gambling losses has expired. Annie

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on February 17, 2014:

That's very odd - I would have expected the statute of limitations to re-start with each purchase. Or 7 years (depending on state) after the side effect was found by the patient.

It wouldn't make sense to end the statute of limitations before a patient even took the drug!

teamrn from Chicago on February 17, 2014:

Legal options - about two years ago, I looked into legal options and fount out that the statute of limitations had expired in all states but Minnesota.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on February 14, 2014:

Mike, just a suggestion, but show them this article. There are others online as well - this problem is becoming fairly well known. I might suggest as well that you explore legal options as I know that some people that have suffered through this have sued and recouped their losses.

I hope that you are off of this particular drug - there are other options here as well. Other drugs and possibly diet changes. If not, I beg you to visit your doctor and insist that some other solution be found. It isn't worth losing all that you have - not only physical possessions but friends and family as well, when there are other options.

Mike Leali on February 14, 2014:

Hi, I can not thank you for the article that you wrote. The same thing has just happened to me with very devastating results. I have lost a very large sum of money of money of which I have no way of replacing. My family can not understand what I have done.

I was on Requip for 8 years with the onset of very compulsive behavior with-in a very short period of time and then when I went on the Mirapex thats when the gambling kicked in. And thats when I lost everything. How do I explain to my family that the feelings are real and I am not just blaming the drugs

Hendrika from Pretoria, South Africa on January 20, 2014:

I also suffer from RLS, but fortunately it is not too bad and I find that massaging my leg helps a lot, so I spend quite a bit of time during the night massaging my legs!

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on February 17, 2013:

If you look back through the comments a ways you will find several from "Sissyjane", the subject of this hub.

I took a while, but she has come to grips with the shame you mention and understands both intellectually and emotionally that it wasn't her. Yes, you must be hypervigilant as long as you are on the drug, but the past is past; remember it as a part of your vigilance but accept deep down that there needs be no shame involved. It wasn't you. You can do that and will be a much happier person if you but accept that it wasn't your fault - that there really is nothing to be ashamed about.

teamrn from Chicago on February 17, 2013:

That's the thing, BE AWARE of the possibility. Be HYPERVIGILANT. This is something that I haven't told many people about, because even though I know I shouldn't feel ashamed, I do. It's part of my past that I'd just as soon let go of; you know, the 'Let Go, Let God,' but I think still being on Mirapex keeps me hypervigilant and not able to put it in perspective and boxed up on the shelf with my childhood toys.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on February 17, 2013:

Teamrn, don't let yourself be shamed, not even a little bit. Not only can chemicals very easily control your actions (just ask any drunk) but when you have absolutely no idea that such a thing is possible it is almost inevitable that it will happen. Add in that this side effect is so insidious, building slowly while going unnoticed, and it is a recipe for disaster.

So, no shame. Believe it or not I do understand how you can feel that way (from experience watching someone go through the same shame) but be assured it wasn't you playing that wheel. So glad to hear that your husband understands as well - it is very difficult for someone not "under the influence" to accept such a strange result to a drug.

Hoping for the best for you in your continuing struggle. You have shown that it can be overcome as long as you take some care and watch for it.

teamrn from Chicago on February 17, 2013:

Wilderness, it h as been a struggle and I rue the day that I took that first spin at the wheel. But knowing now, what power Mirapex can wield, makes me respect a drug more. I slipped a few times until I realized that it still held power; but I have an understanding husband who knows that it's not my fault and we work it thought together

But that still doesn't make up for feelings of shame that something else can control me. I don't like the thought that SOMETHING other than me exerting control even though it was years ago..

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on February 17, 2013:

@teamrn: If you can actually control the side effects of this drug you are one of very few and I congratulate you. It will, I'm sure, be a fight that you will have to be very aware of as long as you are on the drug - something you will have to watch for and control forever, just as an alcoholic does. I certainly wish you well and hope that future advances will find another solution, one that doesn't produce these side effects.

@Joan: I'm so sorry to hear of your experience. Please, realize that other people don't understand the hold that the drug can have; don't understand that it is not you doing these things. When your loved ones make hurtful comments they simply don't understand - they love you but do not realize that it is this terrible drug producing the actions and not you. It is almost as hard for them to wrap their minds around the concept as it is for you to control your actions; it is simply too far outside of their experience for them to understand. I know it was difficult for the family of the lady this article was written about, but reading up on the subject forced acceptance of the weird effects. Perhaps showing this and other articles might help your own family understand and accept?

Joan on February 16, 2013:

I was put on this drug in 2005 for Parkinsons and started to buy a few scratch cards then it got worse about a year ago to gambling on line and I asked my son and daughter for help, my son promptly sent me a spreadsheet to see where I was going wrong and my daughter accused me of being irresponsible. I was suicidal. Fortunately my other two daughters, one who lives with us stood by me and got me to my GP and my consultant who weaned me off it but I have been so ill with the side effects and suicidal tendencies that the GP has put me back on a small dose - people dont understand about this drug and because of their hurtful remarks they could have driven me to do something drastic.

teamrn from Chicago on February 13, 2013:

I just found this Hub and am here to tell you that the compulsive side effects are true. I had none of the other side effects, and care not to tell how many thousands of dollars I spent on gambling, other than a good portion of our retirement savings.

I'd tried all the other meds and they brought so much nausea and dry mouth-nausea being the worst- and they didn't control the RLS. So my choice was to try NOT to develop the addictive side effects or NOT to control the discomfort of RLS. That was an easy choice and one made well before BI came out with its label warnings, so I was able to recover some loss.

The shame it brought, as our economy tanks is HORRIBLE. My husband deserves better and every day I rue the day that I had to rely on Mirapex to control RLS. Now, he controls the bank account, even though I don't have problems; I still take Mirapex. He loves me so much and understands and accepts; but I'm not proud of what I dragged him through. No one knows of this and I'm so ashamed.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on December 16, 2012:

@Catherine: Thank you for the information. I will pass the word on ferritin to my sister as she still has some trouble with RLS.

Sorry to hear you also had trouble with Mirapex, but am certainly glad to hear you got off of it and the problems have been alleviated.

Catherine on December 16, 2012:

I was on Mirapex for 3 years for periodic leg movement syndrome, in some ways this seems to be related to RLS. Bought a 2nd house, tried to buy a 3rd, became very outspoken, etc. This caused me d

significant personal, professional (in health care), and financial issues.

Worst part is I was referred to a neurologist for another issue, and when he heard my story he told me that I hadn't needed to be on Mirapex!! He told me that a person's ferritin level should be kept at least above 60 (normal range extends as low as 12 or so), and that normally this will keep RLS/PLMS symptoms controlled.

Since then I had a patient who developed similar side effects on Mirapex ($$), speaking quickly etc. I stopped the med and put him on ferrous gluconate, and his symptoms gradually disappeared.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on December 06, 2012:

Confused, you are more than welcome. It took me longer than it should have to understand what you are saying; longer than it should have because I went through some of it, too. No the addiction, of course, but the reaction to seeing a loved one throw their life away and not understanding why.

We tend to forget that people doing something like that is affecting everyone around them, and that those people need help, too. I wrote this article with the help of "Sissyjane"; perhaps I should write another from the viewpoint of her family, both immediate and extended.

Just like you, we had to come to terms with it, and it isn't easy. For us, and perhaps you, it's just so hard to understand and accept that a drug prescribed to help a medical condition can produce such a strange and unforeseen side effect. It's hard to accept that just a few weeks or months after nearly total destruction of their lives that they are "all right" again; that their thinking has returned to normal. It's hard to trust again, to really accept deep down, that it really was just the drug.

Thank you for that comment; it is why Sissyjane and I together wrote this article. To help others, and knowing that we have provided at least some comfort in the middle of the pain and despair makes it worthwhile.

confused on December 06, 2012:

Thank you so much for your advice and kind words. I am going to bookmark this page and remind myself to read it when I am feeling down. You have really given me a better understanding of what we have gone through.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on December 06, 2012:

Confused, I know that my sister went through the shame, sorrow and pain of knowing she had hurt her loved ones so badly. From an intellectual standpoint, however, there is no reason for any of that as it was not my sister OR your husband doing those things; it was the drug inside them. A drug that they took with full expectation that it would improve their life, not ruin it, and both you and Sis's family were happy they were taking it.

In that sense there is nothing to forgive, unless you want to try and forgive the drug manufacturer that knows this kind of thing happens but hides it as best they can. Or maybe the doctor, but doctors cannot possibly keep up with the latest knowledge on millions of different drugs - they depend on the manufacturers to let them know and it just didn't happen with Mirapex. Either way there is nothing to forgive the victim for doing (although both you and Sis's family are victims as well).

Trust is another matter, until you can actually accept that there is nothing to forgive. Once my family accepted (as we had to) that it wasn't Sis screwing up her life, it was just a matter of waiting until that drug was clear of their system to trust her once more. She backslid a couple of times, but early on shortly after going off of Mirapex. As months passed, as she was once more able to enter a casino without heading for the slots, understanding and acceptance that it really WASN'T her fault came to us, shortly followed by trust.

You and your husband need to understand that it wasn't him, and support EACH OTHER in your pain. You both hurt; hold and comfort each other. In time understanding, acceptance and trust will come.

confused on December 06, 2012:

Thank you so much for responding back to me. it helps to know that I am not alone. I think my confusion is in reference to the whole list of changes in my husband. It is just hard to believe that this medication could change some one so drastically. But I also know that in the past year since he has been off of the medication he stopped spending, gambling and there has been no sign of him cheating. He is so ashamed and sorry for hurting me so badly. I am just still struggling with trusting and forgiving.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on December 06, 2012:

@ confused: I'm so sorry to hear what you, and your husband, have gone through with this drug. You are most certainly not alone, though, and there are groups online for support - please consider joining one.

I'm not sure whether your confusion refers to cheating or to the gambling. I understand how hard it is to believe a drug could cause a gambling addiction; it's foreign to almost everything we think we understand about the drugs we take in our lives. It is most definitely a well documented side effect, though, and you need to accept it as such. A strange one, to be sure, but well known by now.

The cheating could be a part of the same pattern as well. I'm certainly no doctor or psychologist, but it seems to me that the gambling addiction is not only a result of the Mirapex causing a susceptibility to addiction, but changing thought processes so the the victim doesn't realize that what they are doing is unacceptable or even impossible. That he didn't recognize that cheating was just wrong, or that it is impossible to do so while keeping your morals, may never have entered his mind.

Please, give him a chance. If there are no further obvious signs of such activity write it off to a mental aberration caused by this viscous drug and put it behind you both. It happened, but it wasn't his fault and was something that in his altered state of mind could not be controlled. That his state of mind WAS altered is beyond dispute; had it not been there would have been no gambling. He doesn't gamble (or even want to) with the drug out of his system, does he? Both you and he will be happier if drug induced activity is simply forgotten (just never forget what such a drug can do!).

Please also look into alternative solutions for RLS. There are some other drugs plus there is strong evidence that a change in life style, diet or other daily activities can help tremendously. Symptoms of RLS are severe enough that it's worth making some changes to relieve them.

confused on December 06, 2012:

My husband was put on Mirapex several years ago for RLS. It was like a miracle drug for him. Throughout the years on Mirapex he started gambling, and spending money like crazy. He went through 30-40 thousand dollars. It happened so gradually that I didn't even think about it being the medicine. His personality completely changed and I found myself married to a stranger. My loving, high moraled, Christian husband was gone. He wound up having an affair with our next door neighbor. Even though I was completely devastated and heartbroken I continued to stay with him. Last December he went out of town to help our daughter move. After getting her settled. it was late so he decided to spend the night in a hotel. About 10 that night he drove 2 hours to a casino and completely emptied our checking account. He called me the next day to tell me what he had done. He was so ashamed of hurting me yet again. I was worried he might kill himself but finally convinced him to come home. At this point I knew our 25 year marriage was over. I planned to tell him as soon as he got home. I just couldn't deal with his lies, spending, gambling and cheating anymore. While I was waiting for him to get home, I started googling Mirapex. I don't know why but I truly believe that God led me to start looking in to this horrible drug. When I started reading the horror stories, I knew immediately that Mirapex was the cause of my husband's behaviors. I also knew I couldn't leave him. When he got home, I showed him all the artlicles I had read and started talking to him about how he had changed. He immediately flushed the Mirapex down the toilet. He went through several weeks of withdrawals. It has been a year since he has taken anything for RLS. Some nights are rough but we manage to get through. The hardest part has been trying to rebuild our marriage. I still have a hard time trusting him and my heart breaks everytime I think about him cheating on me. I keep wondering if it was really the Mirapex or do I just want to believe it was.

Sissyjane on October 30, 2012:

Wiscon - are you on the Gabapentin now? Does your doctor know you are going "cold turkey" off the Mirapex and not just tritating down? I worry about that a little - be careful of depression - do you have someone in your life you are close to that will monitor you? I SO wish you the best with this - we will be praying for your success!

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 27, 2012:

A tip of my hat to you, Wiscon - it will be hard, but I'm sure you will pull through the weeks ahead. Anyone that will take the step you have, knowing what is to come, is both special and tough. Thank you for keeping in touch.

At the top of the page, on the right, you will see a link to the "wilderness" profile next to my avatar picture or you can click my name in any of my posts here. There you will find a link to my facebook page, and if you click the "fan mail" button you will find a way to email me. Feel free to use either, and I feel sure that "Sissyjane" would say the same.

I'm not sure what you meant by not knowing how this works, though. If it is a means to maintain contact the information in the preceding paragraph gives alternate methods. If you wish to post articles, let me know and I will help you do that, too.

Do stay in touch one way or another. I am online most days (although I will be away from the computer for several days beginning Nov. 1) and will support and help you in any way I can.

wiscon on October 27, 2012:

Signed up. I don't know how this works but wanted to stay in contact with the two of you some how. I don't want to be a distraction on the page but, this will be night two without the mirapex and I have the two of you to thank for helping me to take this step.

Jacqui from New Zealand on October 27, 2012:

Ropinerole also has disinhibitive side effects, such as compulsive gambling, hypersexuality etc.

These side effects do not always effect everyone - such as myself - Ropinerole has been a god-send for my Restless LIMB Syndrome (yup, not just my legs damn it all). I keep an eye out for side effects but after 2yrs have had none worth noting. However, these can increase with an increase in dosage.

The reason for this I believe is that Ropin and Mirapex are dopamine anagonists (or antagonists...i forget which is which). Dopamine is involved in inhibition, so affecting this, to stop the legs/limbs being restless, is also going to occasionally affect the others.

It's about weighing up the side effects, and benefits from the drug and figuring out which is worth it.

I'm sorry to hear about your sister's troubles.

Emilie S Peck from Minneapolis, MN on October 26, 2012:

Thanks for posting this. When my hubby was trying to find a valid treatment for his emotional disorders, one of the meds he was on had the side effect of RLS. He switched to something else after two weeks, and thankfully that side effect went away, but it was terrible while it lasted. I can't remember what the drug was, though, he went through close to 10, if not more, before he found a way to even out again.

Having a strong dislike for medication myself (outside of an absolute last resort, and even then I do a ton of research beforehand), I'd wonder if a herbalist would be able to help, or if body work like massage would do anything. Either way, I hope your sister finds something that helps her out on all levels.

Sissyjane on October 25, 2012:

Wiscon, thank you so much for writing back - I'm SO pleased that you are going to try the gabapentin. I urge you to google "mirapex withdrawal" and read everything you can on it. There is conflicting information on whether you should taper down or go "cold turkey" and your doctor should know something about that. I wish you all the best and would really like to hear back from you on how it went!

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 25, 2012:

@Wiscon - I can't tell you how much it meant to me to see your post. Sissyjane asked if you would be notified she had posted, and was very disappointed when I told her "no". To hear that you have a little hope is absolutely wonderful and I surely hope it works for you.

Even if it does not (and there is that chance), you should know that there are alternative options to even the Gabapentin. Diet can help; limiting my caffeine intake has stopped my own minor case in all but very rare instances. Acupuncture has reportedly helped some. Other drug regimes are possible. If you haven't kept up in the area, or your doctor is not very knowledgeable, there is information out there from other victims of RLS that can offer suggestions; I suggest you check the facebook link I provided.

If you are going off Mirapex you will likely have several rough weeks of sleepless nights as the torment comes back in strength, but you can work through it. That you are willing to even try shows that!

Please keep Sissyjane and I informed, either here or on my facebook page. Your comment has made my work in writing this, and Sissyjane's help in this article through her pain and shame, all worth it.

Wiscon on October 25, 2012:

Sissyjane and Wilderness,

I can't thank you enough for the slice of hope you've given me. I'm in contact with my doctor and he is going to set me up with the Gabapentin. I'm sure your tip on the rough start will come in handy to say the least. The dosage of Mirapex I'm on is on the high side for RLS so, I'm not expecting a cakewalk. Again, two days ago was the same as two years ago. No hope. Today has a glimmer, and I'll take it! :) As for the other great people who have cared enough to add to this and don't have RLS; perhaps you can imagine being tickled. Now imagine being tickled for hours, days, weeks, and years. Now sleep though it. I surely don't want that to seem like a lashing out of course, that is just a good way for me to describe it.

I thank you again :)

Simon from NJ, USA on October 25, 2012:

As a teen I was addicted to 'fruit machines' in Wales - nearly ruined my early years and cost my father a lot of money. My addiction was my own, it's amazing that some of these addictions can be caused by medication - very scary - thanks for sharing this personal story - it's a very important one!

Judi Brown from UK on October 25, 2012:

Your sister was truly stuck between a rock and a hard place. Glad that she is sorting out her gambling addiction with the help of her family. As you mention, most of us skip through the side-effect warnings on medication and just hope it won't apply.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 25, 2012:

Christine, you're absolutely right in that this information is not generally available. That's why I wrote the hub - to hopefully disseminate that information to anyone that might search for it.

Your doctor probably doesn't know it, the pharmacist won't and while the company making the drug DOES know of cases it mentions them only as a side on their website. It certainly isn't given out in an information packet. Without someone telling the sad tale, few people would ever find out what it might do no matter how hard they looked.

Christine Miranda from My office. on October 25, 2012:

Wilderness, so many people are dealing with the 'side effects' of medication and have no idea. We really have to be our own advocates when being prescribed any new medications. How many of us get a prescription with an information packet attached telling us what the drug is, what it is supposed to do and possible side effects? How many of us actually READ it?

There is no way a drug trial can take into account the massive number of drug possibilities a person can be on while taking a newly prescribed medication. It ends up being innocent people like your sister and her family that suffers. I hope she is able to find some relief from RLS.

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on October 25, 2012:

Sissyjane, What a horrible thing to have gone through. I'm glad that you had family support and that you've overcome the addiction to the drug and to gambling. It's really amazing and terrifying how a drug that is prescribed by a doctor can have such an affect on people. It's drugs such as these that makes you wonder why they are even available. I wish you all the best and thank you Wilderness for writing and sharing this story.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 25, 2012:

GoodLady, I certainly thank you for your advice and compassion. The problem here was not "normal" addiction, if there is such a thing at all. Sis was not addicted to the Mirapex, and would have happily quit using it but for the RLS. It provided no other benefit, and although there is a physical addiction to it in its help in alleviating RLS that can be solved with other drugs, and has been.

The problem was that the Mirapex changed the mental processes and outlook of my sister. That a drug could cause addiction, not to the drug but to gambling, is very strange and one of the reasons that it wasn't caught long before hand. No one would ever make that connection and didn't. As soon as she quit taking that drug (suffering through long weeks of returning RLS) the gambling compulsion was gone. As she says, there is no desire any more even when watching other people gamble.

Thank you again for your compassion. It means a lot.

Penelope Hart from Rome, Italy on October 25, 2012:

Addiction to any substance or behavior is a sure slow death, a very bad death unless dealt with. The medication doesn't seem worth taking if there's that threat. The only way I know a person really feels great about life again (if an addict) is through a 12 step program. A 12 step program such as 'gamblers anonymous' works for millions of people - who are really happy today. Maybe your sister will be happy too, if she tries it. White knuckling it will bring lots and lots of downfalls and depression. That drug sounds unbelievably dangerous. I'm sorry for you all, glad you are by their side, but suggest that 12 step program with all my heart. (We had a similar story that ended in suicide, so we really know). Bless kind man.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 24, 2012:

I'll let this post from Sissyjane stand on its own. Yes, I've known Sissyjane for her whole life and this post says it all - there is life after Mirapex and she is living proof.

I thank you, sis, for speaking out here. I know it's still hard for you to speak of that period, but your testimony might mean more than the article itself.

Wiscon, please listen to her. With help you CAN beat this devil. It isn't easy and it won't happen overnight, but it is possible.

Sissyjane on October 24, 2012:

Wiscon, your comment brought back a lot of bitter memories -I am the little sis in this hub page, and I can tell you there is light at the end of the tunnel. Two years ago I wished my life was over - saw no reason to continue, except that I had family that depended upon me. Thankfully, that same family supported me through some very long, horrible months. I use Gabapentin for RLS now and it works well, but it didn't work while I was coming off the Mirapex at all. Just had to suffer through it, and it took about 3 weeks. We did end up going through bankruptcy, and I won a lawsuit against Mirapex, which helped a little in getting back on track financially. But the best part is something I told my brother a little bit ago - I can walk into a casino and see other people gambling, and see it though a sane person's eyes - no desire to throw money down that black hole.

In looking back now I can see how much that drug affected my thinking, my personality, everything about my life - and it seems unreal. I definitely feel for you - your comment said it all - Hell or hell! But I'm proof there is life after Mirapex!

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 24, 2012:

I understand. Do know, too, that there are others out there that also understand and care. There is a facebook group, that offers support and information; you might check it out.

Wiscon on October 24, 2012:

Thank you Wilderness, I just had to write it down. My intent other than that would only be to support the truth of your account and others.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 23, 2012:

I truly sympathize with your plight, and I'm aware that there is no really good solution to RLS

My heart goes out to you, Wiscon, and I surely hope that the near future will find something that truly works but without the side effects.

Wiscon on October 23, 2012:

Hell or Hell. With Mirapex, I can sleep and provide for my family. However, my life for me, is no more, all is devoted to self control in order to maintain, and provide. Been on the stuff for 14 years, and my soul died about 5 to 7 years ago.

Works great for RLS though.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on March 18, 2012:

Thank you, Minnetonka. Yes, the marriage was in jeopardy for a while - just think if your spouse (assuming you have one) decided to secretly gamble away everything you had.

Their faith and family have prevailed, though. The whole family, from grown children to parents to siblings have pulled together and offered support. They will be years rebuilding their life but they have made a great start. It will happen.

Linda Rogers from Minnesota on March 16, 2012:

Thanks for the update wilderness-What a blessing that life is getting back to some normalcy. It says a lot about their marriage to have withstood such turmoil. I am so happy for them and you and the rest of the family.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on March 15, 2012:

Minnetonka, breathe and Sky: Thank you for your thoughts and prayers and for any help you can give to spread the word about this. It is just so strange that a drug could induce compulsive gambling that very few people are aware of what is happening to them. No one ever connects Mirapex with gambling - why would you? Drugs don't do that!

It has now been over a year since the discovery of what was happening. It has been a long, hard road to recovery, but that terrible addiction is in abeyance. The RLS still bothers her, but that is (for the most part) under control and tolerable. The financial recovery is also proceeding; they still have their home (although I think it was touch and go for a while) and things are looking up.

Thanks again for your concern.

skye2day from Rocky Mountains on March 15, 2012:

I saw your post on the home page and it grabbed my attention. I am so sorry for the loss your sis and family has encountered. I know that Jesus Christ can heal and put back the worst illness to wholeness and the broken heart to good. He is the master physician. I know I am addicted to most things I touch. Gambling was one and I thank God I lived far enough away I could not get there as often as I longed too. Jesus has relieved those compulsive desires from me. I will pray for you and your sis. You are in my heart and thoughts for a speedy recovery. God can put all back together keep the faith in Jesus. My love.

Heidi from Gulf Coast, USA on March 15, 2012:

Voted up & usesful. Also shared on my Facebook. I think this account needs broadcasting to alert the populace to the dangers of the drug. Thank you and your sister for transparency.

Warmest regards~

Linda Rogers from Minnesota on March 14, 2012:

I want to thank you and your sister for sharing this story about the side effects of Mirapex. What she has gone through is so sad and painful and I'm glad to hear her family is so supportive and understanding of what caused the addiction. I will share this all over as many can be warned and prevent them from this hell.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on January 07, 2012:

Barbara, it saddens me greatly to hear of another person caught in that vicious trap. You absolutely must talk to your doctor about this - if he doesn't understand (or believe) be prepared with documentation showing as many others as you can that have suffered through the gambling addiction. If necessary, find another doctor that can give you some relief with other drugs, diet, exercise, or anything else.

My sister has left Mirapex behind her some time ago now. She is still taking some medication (although not nearly so much) and much of the control of the RLS is coming from diet and exercise. She has also lost that terrible addiction, although she will be paying the price for it for many years.

There is hope, but you absolutely MUST take the initiative yourself in this. Few doctors understand and will help only upon your insistence. You didn't say, Barbara, but I would encourage you to talk to your family, spouse, grown children, pastor - anyone at all that can provide encouragement. Some will also need to understand better what has happened to you - eventually the truth will come out about the gambling and far better that it happen early and that any loved ones understand it is actually a chemical dependency that you have little to no control over.

barbara rohrich on January 07, 2012:

I am in the middle of this vicious nightmare. I have RLS 24/7. I do not experience it only at night or on occasion, but constantly. I have been taking Mirapex for a couple years. I currently take 1 mg twice per day. as soon as the pill wears off, my rls becomes unbearable. however, I have also developed a gambling problem that is ruining my life.

I can't stop and have stayed at the cassino over night several times. most of my life I did not gamble. in the past 20 years, I have gone to the cassino once or twice a year and left after spending my $10 or $20 in the nickle slot machines. since taking Mirapex, I slowly turned into a compulsive gambler and have yet to admitto anyone the extent of my addiction.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 14, 2011:

I'm certainly glad to hear that you got off that particular drug - the side effects are often much worse than the disease itself. It is not something to be taken lightly.

That's interesting that you find THC to help. The lady referenced in this hub has switched from drugs to mostly controlling her RLS through diet and natural remedies; it isn't as effective as Mirapex was in controlling her RLS and she still has some fairly minor symptoms but is so much better than the other effects from Mirapex. As you say, the clouds over her life have lifted and she will never again even look at Mirapex.

MP on October 13, 2011:

To add another note, I still have horrible RLS, but I have been able to beat it somewhat by using a small amount of marijuana before bed. I don't abuse it and have never been a drug user - but it works.

MP on October 13, 2011:

Mirapex is horrible. I was on it for about 7 months and it completely changed me. I became defensive, argumentative, depressed, and more. My wife and I fought constantly. I finally saw a doctor and he read the side effects and told me to get off the drug asap. I did. My life came back. I was like the clouds lifted after I stopped taking it.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on March 30, 2011:

Thank you. Our strong family ties have helped considerably here - were it not for that I shudder to think what would have happened.

As time goes on the light at the end of that long dark tunnel gets a little brighter all the time. Sis's RLS is not quite as well controlled as it was and causes her some grief, but that terrible compulsion to gamble seems under control at this time. There were a couple of relapses, but none for some time. Now comes the long climb back up financially.

CASE1WORKER from UNITED KINGDOM on March 30, 2011:

oh wilderness, my heart goes out to you and your family. I am so glad that you are such a supportive unit.I sometimes go to the casino with my husband and we lose £10 maximum each. I see mainly women put hundreds of £ into the slots in the hope they will win- it makes me ill!

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on February 08, 2011:

It is pretty well documented in the States as well, but only by personal experience - I know of no studies that have been done.

I believe that there is some legal action being taken in the states as well.

Making the connection is indeed difficult. It is just so strange that no one would ever think of it, and probably not believe it if they did. I think my Sister found it when researching compulsive gambling and began to find references (perhaps from Canada) to Mirapex side effects.

I appreciate your tweet - the more I can get the word out the happier I'll be. This needs stopped!

Maggie Griess from Ontario, Canada on February 08, 2011:

Hmm, in Canada there was a television program on this drug and the side effects your Sis suffers from are well documented... after countless families suffered similar loses and someone made the connection. Lawsuits have been launched, but I do not know how successful they have been.

How on earth would someone possibly make the connection that an addictive behaviour was caused by medication...addiction to the drug yes, but addiction to something else?

I hope once the drug clears her system, your Sis can start to put her life back together.

Here is to your Sis for wanting her story told...I will Tweet this, so as many people as possible read about the side effects of Mirapex. Voted up and useful!

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on February 08, 2011:

Thank you. It has been terrible for her, but if airing her experience can help prevent even one other person from going through the same thing (or even understanding what is happening to them already) it is worth it to tell the world what can happen.

vydyulashashi from Hyderabad,India on February 07, 2011:

Oh my god! What a terrible experience. My compassion for your sis.

God Bless You!

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on February 07, 2011:

Thank you, DeGreek, for the kind words. I fear it will be a long and difficult journey but I also believe she will be successful in the end. She has a great family to support her and that will make a huge difference.

De Greek from UK on February 07, 2011:

What a horrible experience! Friend Wilderness, my heart goes out to your sister and to her family... I wish you the best possible results out of this nightmare.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on February 06, 2011:

If you have an urge to bob your foot up and down or something similar it's just more of nervous twitch - not RLS. Typical RLS virtually requires large movements of the entire leg or legs. If you literally have to move your legs until you have to get up and walk around that could well be RLS.

I have just a little of it - I like to lie down after work for a short nap and often have to get up before I really want to just to move around and work one leg. The other seldom bothers me and thank goodness it does not bother me at night. It seems to be worst shortly after stopping activity, such as lying down for a nap. By bedtime I've been quiet long enough that it goes away for me.

It has been a truly horrible experience for Sis - thank goodness that her husband, children and extended family are all supporting her and trying to help her through this ordeal. It is something that I would wish on no one and why I wrote this hub. It is a warning to users of Mirapex - that there are severe side affects that are not published well enough and that doctors often don't know about.

Haunty from Hungary on February 06, 2011:

RLS? I've never heard of it. I must have some form of it though, as I have the urge to move my legs when sitting. Fortunately, not uncontrollable.

It's terrible what your sister is going through. I'm so sorry. I hope her husband is there to support her!

Congrats on the 100th hub!