Man Claims Parkinson’s Drug Turned Him Into a Gay Sex Addict

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Didier Jambart, 51, of Nantes, France, began taking GlaxoSmithKline’s drug Requip (ropinirole) in 2003 to treat symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Soon after, the married father of two began exhibiting strange, uncharacteristic behavior, his lawyers said.

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Agence France-Presse reports that Jambart:

…says he has attempted suicide three times, claims he became addicted to Internet gambling, losing the family’s savings and stealing to feed his habit.

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, his lawyers said.

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

It’s impossible that the drug made Jambart gay. But compulsive behaviors are a known side effect of ropinirole. A drug fact-sheet put together by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists says that before taking ropinirole:

…you should know that some people who took medications such as ropinirole developed gambling problems or other intense urges or behaviors that were compulsive or unusual for them, such as increased sexual urges or behaviors. There is not enough information to tell whether the people developed these problems because they took the medication or for other reasons. Call your doctor if you have an urge to gamble that is difficult to control, you have intense urges, or you are unable to control your behavior.

However, Jambart’s attorneys said that this warning did not appear on drug inserts until 2006, after Jambart had discontinued the medication. (More on Time.com: A Brief History of Sex on TV)

The AFP reports that Jambart is seeking $610,000 in damages from Glaxo for selling a “defective” drug, and from his neurologist for failing to inform him properly about the drug. AFP also reports that GlaxoSmithKline declined to comment on the case.

Requip — which is also used to treat restless leg syndrome — is not the only drug associated with unusual behavioral side effects. Patients taking the sleep aid Ambien were found to engage in sleep-eating, sleepwalking, hallucinations, violent outbursts and even sleep-driving, according to a 2006 article in the New York Times.

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