Dopaminergic medication associated with impulse control disorders

Impulse control disorders such as pathological gambling, compulsive shopping or eating, increased libido and hypersexuality have been reported in patients treated with dopaminergic agents for Parkinson's disease.

Pathological gambling is defined as being unable to resist impulses to gamble and can have serious personal and social consequences | SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Pathological gambling is defined as being unable to resist impulses to gamble and can have serious personal and social consequences | SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Accumulating data on the risk of such disorders suggest that it may extend to indications other than Parkinson’s disease, for example restless legs syndrome and other endocrine disorders.

The active substances associated with impulse control disorders that are available as licensed products in the UK include levodopa, the dopamine agonists apomorphine, bromocriptine, cabergoline, pergolide, pramipexole, quinagolide, ropinirole and rotigotine and the COMT inhibitors benserazide, carbidopa, entacapone and tolcapone. 

Monitor regularly for symptoms

The product literature has been updated to warn healthcare professionals to regularly monitor for impulse control disorders and to inform patients of the possibility of such effects. If symptoms develop, dose reduction or discontinuation should be considered.

View dopaminergic drug records

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