Half of patients treated with dopamine replacement therapy at risk of developing impulse-control disorders
The symptoms of Parkinson’s (tremors, impaired speech, etc.) come from the fact that the disease affects the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with movement. For that reason, patients are often treated with medications boosting dopamine activity.
However, dopamine also plays a key role in reward and motivation. As a consequence, people taking dopamine agonists are at risk of developing impulse-control disorders (ICD) such as compulsive gambling, shopping, eating, etc. The risk could even be as high as 50%, a new study finds.
Studying a multicenter cohort of 400+ patients with Parkison’s over the course of five years, Corvol et alia (2018) found that:
-51.5% developed ICD
-Daily dose and duration of treatment were both predictors of ICD
-ICD symptoms disappeared after discontinuation of the treatment (50% after a year for a subgroup of 30 patients)
Source: Corvol et alia (2018)