Pergolide May Cause Somnolence During Activity

December 29, 2003

Medscape Staff Report

Dec. 29, 2003 — Pergolide mesylate (Permax) may cause patients to fall asleep while performing daily activities, including operation of motor vehicles, according to an alert from MedWatch, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's safety information and adverse event reporting program, last week.

Many patients who fell asleep perceived no warning of somnolence. Pergolide is a dopamine agonist indicated as adjunctive treatment to levodopa/carbidopa in the management of the signs and symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

A letter to healthcare professionals from Eli Lilly, pergolide's maker, recommends the careful evaluation of patients for the presence of somnolence. The "Warnings" and "Precautions" sections of the drug's label have been modified to reflect the potential problem.

Reviewed by Gary D. Vogin, MD