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]

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  1. vicki

    Turned me into to a big time gambler!! Take 24 mg requip, still shake like crazy!

  2. Donna

    I took Mirapex for one year. I was already taking Sinemet for a diagnosis of Parkinson’s. I had energy but no appetite and ran myself ragged after starting the Mirapex. I lost 20 pounds within about 6 months. I also shopped compulsively, buying many things that I did not need. I filled closets with
    stuff, some of which I did not remember later when I came across them! Stopping the Mirapex stopped the compulsive behavior. Not only was the drug expensive at $400. a month, I can only imagine how much it cost otherwise, both in money and health.

  3. Blondie

    I have been on ropinerole (generic of requip) for several years for the treatment of RLS. Presently I am taking 5 mg./day: 1 mg at noon, 1 mg. at 5 pm, and 3 mg. before bed. No drug is perfect, but I could not exist without this medicine. RLS is actually a misnomer. Most noticeable symptoms occur in the legs, but it affects my entire body – neck, arms, hands and legs. It is a terrible affliction with no cure, and closely related to Parkinson’s as a neurological disease.
    The reported downside of this medicine, or Mirapex, has never affected me. I have never engaged in gambling or risky sexual behavior. I have been asked if I am ever tired because of the high dosage – which I am not. When the medicine works properly – and again, it’s not perfect, I feel that I can sit, sleep, read, watch TV, drive a car. It is a relief that is second to none. To not be able to sit down and eat, or to drive, much less get a good nights’ sleep is a serious quality of life issue.
    Once, several years ago, I had forgotten to order my refill. I will never do that again. I had to walk around the house all night long until the pharmacy opened in the morning. I could not sit or lie down for the entire night. Needless to say, I now keep extra medicine with me at all times. People/family who are aware of this disease, know what to look for if I’ve forgotten to take my meds, or take them too late. My arms and legs start to involuntarily move and eventually jerk. The consequence then becomes waiting for the medicine to start working in “catch up” mode. It’s miserable.
    Keeping yourself on a strict dosing schedule is essential to maximum relief – and it does not require food for intake. Hope all this information helps someone out there. My best to you.

  4. dd

    duh, v old news… with good ol’ risk vs benefit, eh?
    Popular Parkinson’s drug linked to gambling…
    In 2008, a district court in Minneapolis awarded Gary Charbonneau $8.2 million in gambling losses and punitive damages in a suit against the makers of Mirapex, Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim.
    And in 2010, more than 100 patients in Australia sued Pfizer and Aspen Pharmacare — the makers of Cabaser and Permax respectively — over sex and gambling addictions.

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