Parkinson's disease treatments associated with compulsive behaviors

May 10, 2010

Pathological gambling, compulsive shopping, binge eating and other impulse control disorders appear to be more common among individuals taking dopamine agonist medications for Parkinson's disease, according to a report in the May issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

These behaviors have been reported previously in patients with , according to background information in the article. Preliminary estimates of impulse control disorders in this population range from 1.7 percent to 6.1 percent for gambling, 2 percent to 4 percent for compulsive sexual behavior and 0.4 percent to 3 percent for compulsive buying.

Daniel Weintraub, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and colleagues studied 3,090 patients being treated for Parkinson's disease at 46 movement disorder centers in the United States and Canada.

Impulse control disorders were identified in 13.6 percent of patients, including gambling in 5 percent, compulsive sexual behavior in 3.5 percent, compulsive buying in 5.7 percent, binge-eating disorder in 4.3 percent and two or more of those in 3.9 percent. The disorders were more common in individuals taking dopamine agonists compared with patients not taking dopamine agonists (17.1 percent vs. 6.9 percent).

Additional variables that were associated with these disorders included the use of levodopa, another therapy for Parkinson's disease; living in the United States; being younger or unmarried; smoking cigarettes; and having a family history of gambling problems.

"Dopamine agonist treatment in Parkinson's disease is associated with 2- to 3.5-fold increased odds of having an impulse control disorder," the authors write. "This association represents a drug class relationship across impulse control disorders. The association of other demographic and clinical variables with impulse control disorders suggests a complex relationship that requires additional investigation to optimize prevention and treatment strategies."

Dopamine agonists are increasingly used to treat other conditions, including restless legs syndrome and fibromyalgia, the authors note. "Larger epidemiologic studies in these other populations are needed to examine the possible relationships between dopamine agonist treatment, other clinical features and impulse control disorders," they conclude.

Explore further: Second bird flu case confirmed in Canada

More information: Arch Neurol. 2010;67[5]:589-595.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Addiction: Insights from Parkinson's disease

Feb 25, 2009

A new comprehensive review by researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI), McGill University and the University of Cambridge, England provides vital insights into the neurological basis of addiction by investigating ...

Recommended for you

Ebola reveals shortcomings of African solidarity

11 hours ago

As Africa's leaders meet in Ethiopia to discuss the Ebola crisis, expectations of firm action will be tempered by criticism over the continent's poor record in the early stages of the epidemic.

Second bird flu case confirmed in Canada

Jan 30, 2015

The husband of a Canadian who was diagnosed earlier this week with bird flu after returning from a trip to China has also tested positive for the virus, health officials said Friday.

What exactly is coronavirus?

Jan 30, 2015

The conflicts in Syria and Iraq are straining public health systems and public health efforts meant to prevent and detect the spread of infectious diseases. This is generating a "perfect storm" of conditions for outbreaks. Among the infections raising concern is Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, caused by a type of coronavirus, which emerged in 2012. ...

Scientists find Ebola virus is mutating

Jan 30, 2015

(Medical Xpress)—Researchers working at Institut Pasteur in France have found that the Ebola virus is mutating "a lot" causing concern in the African countries where the virus has killed over eight thous ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.