Parkinsons Drug Creates Sex-a-holics and Gamblers

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Imagine if this falls into the wrong handsEnough people taking a drug intended to treat Parkinson’s Disease has been shown to cause compulsive addictive behaviors in some patients-like gambling, alcoholism, and nymphomania.

A Mayo Clinic study published Monday in the Archives of Neurology revealed an unexpected side effect of Mirapex and other Parkinson’s drugs that occurred in at least 14 people.

Eleven patients developed an irresistible urge to gamble after taking the drugs, leading some to suffer losses up to $200,000.

Six patients developed other problems like alcoholism, compulsive eating, and an insatiable sexual appetite. Many of them had affairs or became overly attentive to pornography, or just pawed their partners to death for sex.

The problem was attributed to dopamine agonists, drugs that imitate the brain chemical dopamine. Dopamine helps the brain to recognize and seek sources of pleasure, an overload of which can cause addiction.

Parkinson’s drugs aim to mimic dopamine because the disease causes a severe reduction in the chemical. Ultimately, the lack of dopamine causes rigid muscles and tremors.

One of the drugs in particular, pramipexole, seemed to trigger compulsive gambling. The 11 patients chronicled in the study rarely gambled in their past. Routine visits to the clinic showed doctors a drastic change in personality after taking the drugs.

After being taken off the drugs, the patients returned to themselves. One patient related, “I felt like I had my brain back.”

“This is a striking effect. Pathological gambling induced by a drug is really quite unusual, said the Mayo Clinic’s Dr Eric Ahlskog.

“It’s a very rare side effect and reversible if you get off the drug, but you have to make the association.”
Lead author Dr. M. Leann Dodd was also alarmed.

“It’s certainly enough for us to be cautious as we are using it,” Dodd said. “We wouldn’t want them to have some kind of financial ruin or difficulties that could be prevented.”

Parkinsons Drug Creates Sex-a-holics and Gamblers
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