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Impulse Control Disorders Common in Parkinson’s Disease

Last Updated: May 11, 2010.

Impulse control disorders are fairly common in people with Parkinson's disease and are associated with several clinical and demographic variables -- particularly dopamine-replacement therapies, according to research published in the May issue of the Archives of Neurology.

TUESDAY, May 11 (HealthDay News) -- Impulse control disorders (ICDs) are fairly common in people with Parkinson's disease and are associated with several clinical and demographic variables -- particularly dopamine-replacement therapies, according to research published in the May issue of the Archives of Neurology.

Daniel Weintraub, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, and colleagues evaluated 3,090 patients with treated idiopathic Parkinson's disease receiving routine clinical care to ascertain the prevalence of four ICDs and study their associations with dopamine-replacement therapies and other clinical characteristics.

The researchers found ICDs (gambling, compulsive sexual behavior, compulsive buying and binge-eating) in 13.6 percent of the patients, 3.9 percent of whom had two or more ICDs. ICDs were more prevalent in patients taking a dopamine agonist than in those not taking one (17.1 versus 6.9 percent). Other characteristics independently associated with ICDs included younger age, U.S. residency, unmarried status, cigarette smoking, levodopa use, and a family history of gambling problems.

"Dopamine agonist treatment in Parkinson's disease is associated with two- to 3.5-fold increased odds of having an ICD. This association represents a drug class relationship across ICDs. The association of other demographic and clinical variables with ICDs suggests a complex relationship that requires additional investigation to optimize prevention and treatment strategies," the authors write.

The study was funded in part by Boehringer Ingelheim; several authors disclosed financial ties to Boehringer Ingelheim and other pharmaceutical companies.

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