Frenchman sues Glaxo for drug that made him 'gay sex addict'

1st February 2011, Comments 0 comments

A French father-of-two on Tuesday took GlaxoSmithKline to court, alleging that the British firm's drug to treat Parkinson's disease turned him into a gay sex and gambling addict.

The 51-year-old said his behaviour changed radically after he was first administered the drug, Requip, in 2003 for the illness, which causes tremors, slows movement and disrupts speech.

Didier Jambart, who says he attempted suicide eight times, wants 450,000 euros ($610,000) from Glaxo, which he accuses of selling a "defective" drug, and from his neurologist for failing to properly inform him about the drug.

The married defence ministry worker claims the durg made him addicted to Internet gambling, and caused him to lose the family's savings and steal to feed the habit that left him 130,000 euros in debt.

"The first four or five days (after taking the drug) I was bursting with energy," he told journalists at the hearing in the western city of Nantes.

"I would get up at four in the morning and run 10, 25 kilometres. But later, it went more than too far."

He also became a compulsive gay sex addict and began exposing himself on the Internet and cross-dressing. His risky sexual encounters led to him being raped, he said.

"My life was ruined, my family and I were treated like we had the plague," he said.

The behaviour stopped when he ceased taking the drugs in 2005 but by then he had been demoted in his job and was suffering from psychological trauma resulting from his addictions, his lawyers said.

Requip has been known for years to have undesired side effects but a warning only appeared on its package insert in 2006, his lawyers said.

Lawyer Jacques-Antoine Robert, representing GlaxoSmithKline, said that scientific knowledge at the time of Jambart's troubles did not suggest "any indication of the (undesirable) effects of Ropinirole", a molecule in the drug.

He admitted there was a possibility of of an "extremely rare reaction" but said the court's dossier did not contain sufficient proof to establish causality and requested further technical reports.

Jacqueline Houdayer, the president of CADUS patients' aid group, told AFP she had been contacted by 100 other people who had had the same side effects as Jambart.

A judgement was due on March 24.


© 2011 AFP

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