Certain types of Parkinson’s disease medications are linked to impulse control disorders, such as pathological gambling, compulsive shopping and binge eating, according to a study of more than 3,000 Parkinson’s disease patients by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine.

“Dopamine agonist treatment in Parkinson’s disease is associated with a 2- to 3.5-fold increased odds of having an impulse control disorder,” said lead author Daniel Weintraub, MD, associate professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Impulse control disorders were more common in individuals taking dopamine agonists compared with patients not taking dopamine agonists (17.1 percent vs. 6.9 percent).

Researchers noted that dopamine agonists are increasingly used to treat other conditions, and initial case reports suggest that impulse control disorders may occur with dopamine agonist treatment in patients with restless leg syndrome and fibromyalgia. Further studies in these patient populations are needed to assess the link between dopamine agonist treatment and compulsive behaviors.

The study appears in the May issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. Please visit the JAMA/Archives press release for more information.


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