Health Discoveries in Movement Disorders, Parkinsons etc

Parkinson's disease drug linked to impulse control disorder

April 4, 2011

A group of Parkinson's disease drugs called dopamine agonists are linked to the development of impulse control disorder, a psychological condition characterized by a patient's inability to stop performing actions harmful to oneself and others.

In a neuroscience study at the Mayo Clinic, researchers found the disorder developed in nearly one-quarter of the cases they reviewed. Previous research also has linked such drugs, which include Mirapex (pramipexole) and Requip (ropinirole), to disorders that include gambling addiction, binge eating, hypersexuality and overspending.

"What we found was that as many as 22 percent of patients during a two-year period had a new-onset impulse control disorder," said Dr. Anhar Hassan, a neurology fellow at the clinic.

The development of the condition rose as the dosage increased for Parkinson's patients. Published online in the journal Parkinsonian and Related Disorders, the study reviewed records spanning two years.

Hassan advised patients taking the drugs and their families to watch for behavioral changes, which usually can be resolved within a few days to a month after a patient is taken off the medication.

The Center for Neurosciences within the North Shore-LIJ Health System has one of the leading brain imaging programs in the U.S. focused on neural circuits in neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases.

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