Drug turns patients into gambling addicts

Sep 18, 2006

Scottish researchers have found that drugs used to treat Parkinson's disease appear to turn some patients into gambling addicts.

A survey of patients in western Scotland found that about 10 percent of those taking dopamine agents had become problem gamblers, The Scotsman reported. A research team from Southern General Hospital in Glasgow tracked 251 Parkinson's patients who were taking different drug combinations.

Many of the patients who became addicted were already regular bettors before they went on Parkinson's medication. But the increase was often dramatic, like the patient who went from spending 10 pounds a week gambling to 1,500 pounds a week.

Parkinson's patients appear to suffer from low levels of dopamine. Dopamine plays a role in addiction by helping the brain to recognize sources of pleasure.

Robert Brown, a Glasgow psychologist, said that what patients using dopamine are likely to turn to depends on what they have access to.

"There is a tradition of gambling across the whole of Scotland, with more gamblers per head of population than in England and Wales," Brown said. "But people on these drugs could equally turn to alcohol or other ways of finding arousal or escape."

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Combining epilepsy drug, morphine can result in less pain, lower opioid doses

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Parkinson's patients' 'risky behavior' explained

Jun 23, 2010

Scientists at UCL (University College London) have explained Parkinson's patients' risky behaviour, a rare side effect of standard treatments for the disease. The finding has implications for future medication of patients.

Recommended for you

Vaccine proves effective against deadly Middle East virus

Sep 15, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—A vaccine developed by an international team of scientists led by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine successfully protects mice against a contagious and deadly virus spreading across the Middle ...

New study looks at improving vaccine awareness

Sep 15, 2014

The best medical therapies won't do much good if the public abstains from using them. Resistance to life-saving interventions may have a variety of root causes, particularly if the biotechnology involved is new and poorly ...

High-dose opioid prescribing continues to climb

Sep 12, 2014

High-dose opioid prescribing increased by 23 per cent in Canada between 2006 and 2011, despite clinical guidelines recommending that most patients should avoid high-doses of these drugs, according to new ...

Feds say Bayer colon supplement makes bogus claims

Sep 12, 2014

The United States government accused Bayer of making scientifically unproven statements about the health benefits of a popular probiotic on Friday, claiming the German pharmaceutical giant was in contempt of court.

User comments : 0