For individuals taking a class of drugs known as "dopamine agonists” to treat Parkinson’s disease, the medication may be leading to impulse control problems, according to a study from Mayo Clinic researchers.
Studying patients with Parkinson’s disease for a period of two years, researchers found that those taking a dopamine agonist had an increased chance of developing an impulse control disorder, such as gambling addiction, hypersexuality, and compulsive disorders like binge eating.
Nearly one-quarter of patients – 22 percent – developed an impulse control disorder, and the higher the dose of the medication the greater the chance was that a disorder of this class became evident. One in three patients taking a high dose of the medications developed a new-onset disorder.
Researchers recommend that caregivers and family members keep close watch on the behavior of patients one these drugs, which include Mirapex (pramipexole) and Requip (ropinirole). According to the study, published online in Parkinsonism and Related Disorders
, going off the drugs can quickly reverse the unintended side effects.