A 74-year-old Parkinson's patient became addicted to gambling in a bizarre side effect of his prescribed medication.
The desire of the Greek man to use slot machines began a month after his doctor prescribed pramipexole, a dopamine agonist.
Doctors said the nameless man lost significant relationships because he lied about his expenses and suffered from a lack of sleep and appetite.
It has been shown that dopamine agonist drugs cause impulsive and compulsive behavior in 17 percent of those who use them.
The Parkinson's charity has now warned that patients are not being told about the possible, and more bizarre, side effects of drugs.
A 74-year-old man became addicted to gambling in a bizarre side effect of his prescribed medication, psychiatrists at the University Mental Health Research Institute in the Athens report
These behaviors include pathological gambling, hypersexuality, compulsive shopping, and eating.
Psychiatrists from the University Mental Health Research Institute in Athens, Greece, published the case study in the scientific journal Reports.
The man had been diagnosed with Parkinson's five years earlier, according to Dr. Konstantinos Kontoangelos who treated him.
A month after starting the medication, the man increasingly felt the desire to visit the casino until he was on the road every day.
He spent more money to achieve immediate reward and excitement at the expense of his sleep, appetite, and close relationships, although it is not clear what those relationships were.
HOW CAN PARKINSONS DRUGS TRIGG A SIMPLY JUST?
It is not entirely clear how drugs cause behavioral changes in people with Parkinson's.
Treatment with dopamine receptor agonists is associated with impulse control disorders, including pathological gambling, eating attacks and hypersexuality.
Common side effects of pramipexole include abnormal behavior and appetite, confusion, hallucinations, sleep disorders, and psychiatric disorders.
Less common effects are anxiety, eating attacks, pathological gambling, pneumonia, sexual dysfunction, hiccups and heart failure.
Research has shown that about 17 percent of people with Parkinson's who use dopamine agonists experience impulsive and compulsive behavior.
For a small number of people it has also been shown that other types of Parkinson's medication, in particular levodopa, have similar side effects.
The research suggests that seven percent of people who use these other types of medication are affected.
It should not stop you from taking your medication. However, we encourage you to talk to your Parkinson's nurse or specialist about these side effects.
It is not clear how long his life remained this way, but the report said: & # 39; After stopping the drug, all this behavior was interrupted. & # 39;
It is not the first time that the update has been documented. But experts are still trying to figure out how Parkinson's medication can cause changes in people's behavior.
However, it can be associated with the role of dopamine, which Parkinson's patients do not have enough because of nerve cell damage and which drugs want to boost.
In addition to helping to control movement, balance and walking, dopamine plays a role in the part of the brain that controls reward and motivation.
It is known that impulse behavior, when a person cannot resist the temptation to perform certain activities, gives immediate satisfaction.
The doctors of the Greek man explain that the higher percentages of pathological behavior in patients using dopamine agonists can be explained by a dopamine receptor in the brain called D3.
D3, a target for drugs that also treat schizophrenia and drug addiction, is overly stimulated by the drug pramipexole.
This reduces the ability to control impulses by reducing the interaction between two parts of the brain – the nucleus accumbens and the prefrontal cortex.
The doctors believe that the D3 receptor & # 39; plays an important role in modulating the physiological and emotional experience of novelty, reward and risk assessment & # 39 ;.
Dr. Kontoangelos and his team said that the prevalence of gambling addiction in patients using dopamine agonists is around two and eight percent, compared to one percent of the general population.
They also consider young, male Parkinson's patients with more than one psychiatric disorder at the greatest risk of developing the side effect.
Daiga Heisters, from Parkinson's UK, said: “Our research has shown that more and more people feel they are not getting enough information, including possible side effects, when they use Parkinson's medication.
& # 39; Also, many people are not being followed if they are going to develop this behavior by their care team. & # 39;
Pfizer Australia, part of the global pharmaceutical company Pfizer, offered an arrangement to patients who developed an addition to gambling and sex after taking medication to treat Parkinson's disease.
About 170 patients claimed that they had not been warned of the side effects drug Cabaser between 1996 and 2010.
They were gambling quicklylifetime savings or participation in other extreme behaviors that they would not normally do.
The confidential arrangement, reportedly for millions of dollars, was approved in 2015 by the federal court in Australia.
Ms. Heisters said: & # 39; Healthcare workers have a responsibility to raise awareness of these side effects among patients and their caregivers and make every effort to minimize the risks.
& # 39; Pharmaceutical companies also have a responsibility to provide effective information and work on drugs with fewer harmful side effects.
& # 39; We would advise anyone who is concerned about taking their Parkinson's medication to discuss this with their healthcare team. & # 39;
WHAT IS PARKINSON & # 39; S? THE INCREDIBLE DISEASE THAT IMPROVES BOXER MUHAMMAD ALI
Parkinson's disease affects one in 500 people and around 127,000 people in the UK live with the condition.
Figures also suggest that one million Americans also suffer.
It causes muscle stiffness, slow motion, tremors, sleep disorders, chronic fatigue, a reduced quality of life and can lead to severe disability.
It is a progressive neurological disorder that destroys cells in the part of the brain that controls movement.
Patients are known to have a reduced supply of dopamine because nerve cells that cause them to die.
There is currently no cure and no way to stop the progression of the disease, but hundreds of scientific studies are underway to try to change that.
The disease claimed the life of boxing legend Muhammad Ali in 2016.
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