Medications such as Mirapex and Requip, used to treat Parkinson’s disease, have an unusual side effect. People taking these medications may experience disturbing compulsions and addictions. There are numerous reports of patients gambling large sums of money or engaging in compulsive shopping sprees or participating in risky sexual behavior.
Neurologists have wondered whether people with Parkinson’s disease are more susceptible to such compulsive behavior because of their illness rather than the medications. The scientists surveyed a group of 168 newly diagnosed Parkinson’s disease patients. They also questioned a group of 143 healthy controls. The Parkinson’s patients had not yet received any treatment. There was no statistically detectable difference between the two groups. Now that neurologists know that impulse control difficulties are not inherent to Parkinson’s disease they will need to be more forthcoming about warning patients and their family members about these potential side effects.
[Neurology, Jan. 2013]