May 27, 2017
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"Jan. 8, 2013 -- Parkinson's disease itself doesn't seem to raise a person's risk for compulsive addictions to things like gambling, shopping, or sex, a new study shows.

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Included as part of the PRECAUTIONS section.


Falling Asleep During Activities Of Daily Living And Somnolence

Patients treated with pramipexole have reported falling asleep while engaged in activities of daily living, including the operation of motor vehicles which sometimes resulted in accidents. Although many of these patients reported somnolence while on pramipexole tablets, some perceived that they had no warning signs (sleep attack) such as excessive drowsiness, and believed that they were alert immediately prior to the event. Some of these events had been reported as late as one year after the initiation of treatment.

Somnolence is a common occurrence in patients receiving pramipexole at doses above 1.5 mg/day (0.5 mg three times a day) for Parkinson's disease. In controlled clinical trials in RLS, patients treated with MIRAPEX tablets at doses of 0.25-0.75 mg once a day, the incidence of somnolence was 6% compared to an incidence of 3% for placebo-treated patients [see ADVERSE REACTIONS]. It has been reported that falling asleep while engaged in activities of daily living usually occurs in a setting of pre-existing somnolence, although patients may not give such a history. For this reason, prescribers should reassess patients for drowsiness or sleepiness, especially since some of the events occur well after the start of treatment. Prescribers should also be aware that patients may not acknowledge drowsiness or sleepiness until directly questioned about drowsiness or sleepiness during specific activities.

Before initiating treatment with MIRAPEX tablets, advise patients of the potential to develop drowsiness and specifically ask about factors that may increase the risk for somnolence with MIRAPEX tablets such as the use of concomitant sedating medications or alcohol, the presence of sleep disorders, and concomitant medications that increase pramipexole plasma levels (e.g., cimetidine) [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]. If a patient develops significant daytime sleepiness or episodes of falling asleep during activities that require active participation (e.g., conversations, eating, etc.), MIRAPEX tablets should ordinarily be discontinued. If a decision is made to continue MIRAPEX tablets, advise patients not to drive and to avoid other potentially dangerous activities that might result in harm if the patients become somnolent. While dose reduction reduces the degree of somnolence, there is insufficient information to establish that dose reduction will eliminate episodes of falling asleep while engaged in activities of daily living.

Symptomatic Orthostatic Hypotension

Dopamine agonists, in clinical studies and clinical experience, appear to impair the systemic regulation of blood pressure, with resulting orthostatic hypotension, especially during dose escalation. Parkinson's disease patients, in addition, appear to have an impaired capacity to respond to an orthostatic challenge. For these reasons, both Parkinson's disease patients and RLS patients being treated with dopaminergic agonists ordinarily require careful monitoring for signs and symptoms of orthostatic hypotension, especially during dose escalation, and should be informed of this risk.

In clinical trials of pramipexole, however, and despite clear orthostatic effects in normal volunteers, the reported incidence of clinically significant orthostatic hypotension was not greater among those assigned to pramipexole tablets than among those assigned to placebo. This result, especially with the higher doses used in Parkinson's disease, is clearly unexpected in light of the previous experience with the risks of dopamine agonist therapy. While this finding could reflect a unique property of pramipexole, it might also be explained by the conditions of the study and the nature of the population enrolled in the clinical trials. Patients were very carefully titrated, and patients with active cardiovascular disease or significant orthostatic hypotension at baseline were excluded. Also, clinical trials in patients with RLS did not incorporate orthostatic challenges with intensive blood pressure monitoring done in close temporal proximity to dosing.

Impulse Control/Compulsive Behaviors

Case reports and the results of a cross-sectional study suggest that patients can experience intense urges to gamble, increased sexual urges, intense urges to spend money uncontrollably, binge eating, and/or other intense urges and the inability to control these urges while taking one or more of the and/or other intense urges and the inability to control these urges while taking one or more of the medications, including MIRAPEX, that increase central dopaminergic tone and that are generally used for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. In some cases, although not all, these urges were reported to have stopped when the dose was reduced or the medication was discontinued. Because patients may not recognize these behaviors as abnormal it is important for prescribers to specifically ask patients or their caregivers about the development of new or increased gambling urges, sexual urges, uncontrolled spending or other urges while being treated with MIRAPEX. Physicians should consider dose reduction or stopping the medication if a patient develops such urges while taking MIRAPEX.

Hallucinations And Psychotic-like Behavior

In the three double-blind, placebo-controlled trials in early Parkinson's disease, hallucinations were observed in 9% (35 of 388) of patients receiving MIRAPEX tablets, compared with 2.6% (6 of 235) of patients receiving placebo. In the four double-blind, placebo-controlled trials in advanced Parkinson's disease, where patients received MIRAPEX tablets and concomitant levodopa, hallucinations were observed in 16.5% (43 of 260) of patients receiving MIRAPEX tablets compared with 3.8% (10 of 264) of patients receiving placebo. Hallucinations were of sufficient severity to cause discontinuation of treatment in 3.1% of the early Parkinson's disease patients and 2.7% of the advanced Parkinson's disease patients compared with about 0.4% of placebo patients in both populations.

Age appears to increase the risk of hallucinations attributable to pramipexole. In the early Parkinson's disease patients, the risk of hallucinations was 1.9 times greater than placebo in patients younger than 65 years and 6.8 times greater than placebo in patients older than 65 years. In the advanced Parkinson's disease patients, the risk of hallucinations was 3.5 times greater than placebo in patients younger than 65 years and 5.2 times greater than placebo in patients older than 65 years.

Postmarketing reports with medication used to treat Parkinson's disease, including MIRAPEX, indicate that patients may experience new or worsening mental status and behavioral changes, which may be severe, including psychotic-like behavior during treatment with MIRAPEX or after starting or increasing the dose of MIRAPEX. Other drugs prescribed to improve the symptoms of Parkinson's disease can have similar effects on thinking and behavior. This abnormal thinking and behavior can consist of one or more of a variety of manifestations including paranoid ideation, delusions, hallucinations, confusion, psychotic-like behavior, disorientation, aggressive behavior, agitation, and delirium.

Patients with a major psychotic disorder should ordinarily not be treated with dopamine agonists, including MIRAPEX, because of the risk of exacerbating the psychosis. In addition, certain medications used to treat psychosis may exacerbate the symptoms of Parkinson's disease and may decrease the effectiveness of MIRAPEX [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].

In the RLS clinical trials, one pramipexole-treated patient (of 889) reported hallucinations; this patient discontinued treatment and the symptoms resolved.


MIRAPEX tablets may potentiate the dopaminergic side effects of levodopa and may cause or exacerbate preexisting dyskinesia.

Renal Impairment

Since pramipexole is eliminated through the kidneys, caution should be exercised when prescribing MIRAPEX tablets to patients with renal impairment [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, Use in Specific Populations, and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].


A single case of rhabdomyolysis occurred in a 49-year-old male with advanced Parkinson's disease treated with MIRAPEX tablets. The patient was hospitalized with an elevated CPK (10,631 IU/L). The symptoms resolved with discontinuation of the medication.

Retinal Pathology

Human Data

A two-year open-label, randomized, parallel-group safety study of retinal deterioration and vision compared MIRAPEX tablets and immediate-release ropinirole. Two hundred thirty four Parkinson's disease patients (115 on pramipexole, mean dose 3.0 mg/day and 119 on ropinirole, mean dose 9.5 mg/day) were evaluated using a panel of clinical ophthalmological assessments. Of 234 patients who were evaluable, 196 had been treated for two years and 29 were judged to have developed clinical abnormalities that were considered meaningful (19 patients in each treatment arm had received treatment for less than two years). There was no statistical difference in retinal deterioration between the treatment arms; however, the study was only capable of detecting a very large difference between treatments. In addition, because the study did not include an untreated comparison group (placebo treated), it is unknown whether the findings reported in patients treated with either drug are greater than the background rate in an aging population.

Animal Data

Pathologic changes (degeneration and loss of photoreceptor cells) were observed in the retina of albino rats in the 2-year carcinogenicity study. While retinal degeneration was not diagnosed in pigmented rats treated for 2 years, a thinning in the outer nuclear layer of the retina was slightly greater in rats given drug compared with controls. Evaluation of the retinas of albino mice, monkeys, and minipigs did not reveal similar changes. The potential significance of this effect in humans has not been established, but cannot be disregarded because disruption of a mechanism that is universally present in vertebrates (i.e., disk shedding) may be involved [see Nonclinical Toxicology].

Events Reported With Dopaminergic Therapy

Although the events enumerated below may not have been reported in association with the use of pramipexole in its development program, they are associated with the use of other dopaminergic drugs. The expected incidence of these events, however, is so low that even if pramipexole caused these events at rates similar to those attributable to other dopaminergic therapies, it would be unlikely that even a single case would have occurred in a cohort of the size exposed to pramipexole in studies to date.

Hyperpyrexia And Confusion

Although not reported with pramipexole in the clinical development program, a symptom complex resembling the neuroleptic malignant syndrome (characterized by elevated temperature, muscular rigidity, altered consciousness, and autonomic instability), with no other obvious etiology, has been reported in association with rapid dose reduction, withdrawal of, or changes in dopaminergic therapy. If possible, avoid sudden discontinuation or rapid dose reduction in patients taking MIRAPEX tablets. If the decision is made to discontinue MIRAPEX tablets, the dose should be tapered to reduce the risk of hyperpyrexia and confusion [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].

Fibrotic Complications

Cases of retroperitoneal fibrosis, pulmonary infiltrates, pleural effusion, pleural thickening, pericarditis, and cardiac valvulopathy have been reported in patients treated with ergot-derived dopaminergic agents. While these complications may resolve when the drug is discontinued, complete resolution does not always occur. Although these adverse events are believed to be related to the ergoline structure of these compounds, whether other, nonergot-derived dopamine agonists can cause them is unknown. Cases of possible fibrotic complications, including peritoneal fibrosis, pleural fibrosis, and pulmonary fibrosis have been reported in the post marketing experience with MIRAPEX tablets. While the evidence is not sufficient to establish a causal relationship between MIRAPEX tablets and these fibrotic complications, a contribution of MIRAPEX tablets cannot be completely ruled out.


Epidemiological studies have shown that patients with Parkinson's disease have a higher risk (2- to approximately 6-fold higher) of developing melanoma than the general population. Whether the observed increased risk was due to Parkinson's disease or other factors, such as drugs used to treat Parkinson's disease, is unclear. For the reasons stated above, patients and providers are advised to monitor for melanomas frequently and on a regular basis when using MIRAPEX tablets for any indication. Ideally, periodic skin examinations should be performed by appropriately qualified individuals (e.g., dermatologists).

Rebound And Augmentation In RLS

Reports in the literature indicate treatment of RLS with dopaminergic medications can result in rebound: a worsening of symptoms following treatment cessation with greater intensity than described before starting treatment. In a 26 week placebo controlled clinical trial in patients with RLS, a worsening of symptoms scores (IRLS) beyond their untreated baseline levels was reported more frequently by patients suddenly withdrawn from MIRAPEX (up to 0.75 mg once daily) compared to the group assigned to placebo (10% vs. 2%, respectively). The worsening of RLS symptoms was considered generally mild.

Augmentation has also been described during therapy for RLS. Augmentation refers to the earlier onset of symptoms in the evening (or even the afternoon), increase in symptoms, and spread of symptoms to involve other extremities. In a 26 week placebo controlled clinical trial in patients with RLS, augmentation was reported with greater frequency by patients treated with MIRAPEX (up to 0.75 mg once daily) compared to patients who received placebo (12% vs. 9%, respectively). The incidence of augmentation increased with increasing duration of exposure to MIRAPEX and to placebo.

The frequency and severity of augmentation and/or rebound after longer-term use of MIRAPEX tablets and the appropriate management of these events have not been adequately evaluated in controlled clinical trials.

Patient Counseling Information

Advise the patient to read the FDA-approved patient labeling (PATIENT INFORMATION).

Dosing Instructions

Instruct patients to take MIRAPEX tablets only as prescribed. If a dose is missed, advise patients not to double their next dose.

MIRAPEX tablets can be taken with or without food. If patients develop nausea, advise that taking MIRAPEX tablets with food may reduce the occurrence of nausea.

Pramipexole is the active ingredient that is in both MIRAPEX tablets and extended-release pramipexole tablets. Ensure that patients do not take both extended-release pramipexole and MIRAPEX.

Sedating Effects

Alert patients to the potential sedating effects associated with MIRAPEX tablets, including somnolence and the possibility of falling asleep while engaged in activities of daily living. Since somnolence is a frequent adverse reaction with potentially serious consequences, patients should neither drive a car nor engage in other potentially dangerous activities until they have gained sufficient experience with MIRAPEX tablets to gauge whether or not it affects their mental and/or motor performance adversely. Advise patients that if increased somnolence or new episodes of falling asleep during activities of daily living (e.g., conversations or eating) are experienced at any time during treatment, they should not drive or participate in potentially dangerous activities until they have contacted their physician. Because of possible additive effects, advise caution when patients are taking other sedating medications or alcohol in combination with MIRAPEX tablets and when taking concomitant medications that increase plasma levels of pramipexole (e.g., cimetidine) [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

Impulse Control Symptoms Including Compulsive Behaviors

Alert patients and their caregivers to the possibility that they may experience intense urges to spend money uncontrollably, intense urges to gamble, increased sexual urges, binge eating and/or other intense urges and the inability to control these urges while taking MIRAPEX [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

Hallucinations And Psychotic-like Behavior

Inform patients that hallucinations and other psychotic-like behavior can occur and that the elderly are at a higher risk than younger patients with Parkinson's disease [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

Postural (Orthostatic) Hypotension

Advise patients that they may develop postural (orthostatic) hypotension, with or without symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, fainting or blackouts, and sometimes, sweating. Hypotension may occur more frequently during initial therapy. Accordingly, caution patients against rising rapidly after sitting or lying down, especially if they have been doing so for prolonged periods and especially at the initiation of treatment with MIRAPEX tablets [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].


Because the teratogenic potential of pramipexole has not been completely established in laboratory animals, and because experience in humans is limited, advise women to notify their physicians if they become pregnant or intend to become pregnant during therapy [see Use in Specific Populations].


Because of the possibility that pramipexole may be excreted in breast milk, advise women to notify their physicians if they intend to breast-feed or are breast-feeding an infant [see Use in Specific Populations].

Nonclinical Toxicology

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility

Two-year carcinogenicity studies with pramipexole have been conducted in mice and rats. Pramipexole was administered in the diet to mice at doses up to 10 mg/kg/day (or approximately 10 times the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) for Parkinson's disease of 4.5 mg/day on a mg/m basis). Pramipexole was administered in the diet to rats at doses up to 8 mg/kg/day. These doses were associated with plasma AUCs up to approximately 12 times that in humans at the MRHD. No significant increases in tumors occurred in either species.

Pramipexole was not mutagenic or clastogenic in a battery of in vitro (bacterial reverse mutation, V79/HGPRT gene mutation, chromosomal aberration in CHO cells) and in vivo (mouse micronucleus) assays.

In rat fertility studies, pramipexole at a dose of 2.5 mg/kg/day (5 times the MRHD on a mg/m basis) prolonged estrus cycles and inhibited implantation. These effects were associated with reductions in serum levels of prolactin, a hormone necessary for implantation and maintenance of early pregnancy in rats.

Use In Specific Populations


Risk Summary

There are no adequate data on the developmental risk associated with the use of MIRAPEX in pregnant women. No adverse developmental effects were observed in animal studies in which pramipexole was administered to rabbits during pregnancy

Effects on embryofetal development could not be adequately assessed in pregnant rats; however, postnatal growth was inhibited at clinically relevant exposures [see Data].

In the U.S. general population, the estimated background risk of major birth defects and of miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2-4% and 15-20%, respectively. The background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage for the indicated population is unknown.


Animal Data

Oral administration of pramipexole (0.1, 0.5, or 1.5 mg/kg/day) to pregnant rats during the period of organogenesis resulted in a high incidence of total resorption of embryos at the highest dose tested. This increase in embryolethality is thought to result from the prolactin-lowering effect of pramipexole; prolactin is necessary for implantation and maintenance of early pregnancy in rats but not in rabbits or humans. Because of pregnancy disruption and early embryonic loss in this study, the teratogenic potential of pramipexole could not be adequately assessed in rats. The highest no-effect dose for embryolethality in rats was associated with maternal plasma drug exposures (AUC) approximately equal to those in humans receiving the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) of 4.5 mg/day. There were no adverse effects on embryo-fetal development following oral administration of pramipexole (0.1, 1, or 10 mg/kg/day) to pregnant rabbits during organogenesis (plasma AUC up to approximately 70 times that in humans at the MRHD). Postnatal growth was inhibited in the offspring of rats treated with pramipexole (0.1, 0.5, or 1.5 mg/kg/day) during the latter part of pregnancy and throughout lactation. The no-effect dose for adverse effects on offspring growth (0.1 mg/kg/day) was associated with maternal plasma drug exposures lower than that in humans at the MRHD.


Risk Summary

There are no data on the presence of pramipexole in human milk, the effects of pramipexole on the breastfed infant, or the effects of pramipexole on milk production. However, inhibition of lactation is expected because pramipexole inhibits secretion of prolactin in humans. Pramipexole or metabolites, or both, are present in rat milk [see Data].

The developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother's clinical need for MIRAPEX and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed infant from MIRAPEX or from the underlying maternal condition.

In a study of radio-labeled pramipexole, pramipexole or metabolites, or both, were present in rat milk at concentrations three to six times higher than those in maternal plasma.

Pediatric Use

Safety and effectiveness of MIRAPEX in pediatric patients has not been established.

Geriatric Use

Pramipexole total oral clearance is approximately 30% lower in subjects older than 65 years compared with younger subjects, because of a decline in pramipexole renal clearance due to an age-related reduction in renal function. This resulted in an increase in elimination half-life from approximately 8.5 hours to 12 hours.

In clinical studies with Parkinson's disease patients, 38.7% of patients were older than 65 years. There were no apparent differences in efficacy or safety between older and younger patients, except that the relative risk of hallucination associated with the use of MIRAPEX tablets was increased in the elderly.

In clinical studies with RLS patients, 22% of patients were at least 65 years old. There were no apparent differences in efficacy or safety between older and younger patients.

Renal Impairment

The elimination of pramipexole is dependent on renal function. Pramipexole clearance is extremely low in dialysis patients, as a negligible amount of pramipexole is removed by dialysis. Caution should be exercised when administering MIRAPEX tablets to patients with renal disease [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS, and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].

This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Last reviewed on RxList: 9/8/2016


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