For Years, an Acknowledged Link
Add impulse-control disorders such as pathological gambling and hypersexuality to the list of possible non-motor problems that can occur in individuals with Parkinson's disease (PD). Recent studies suggest that seriously disabling impulsive behaviors occur in three to five percent of PD patients, affecting individuals at all stages of the disease. The exact prevalence of such disturbances in PD is not entirely clear since the behaviors are often performed in secret, or because the association with PD seems improbable and is therefore never reported at doctor visits.
A significant minority of those taking dopamine medication find they have problems with compulsive behaviour. Every individual reacts differently to Parkinson’s drugs. By talking with their specialist, they can look at altering the dose or drug, and side-effects can be alleviated or even eliminated. It’s important doctors make their patients aware this can happen and monitor them.
Levodopa, Dopamine Agonist... What's the Difference?
According to the American Academy of Neurology, dopamine agonists can be used as an alternative initial therapy and as an adjunct to levodopa to decrease long-term motor complications. This approach is especially desirable in younger patients with mild disease to delay the use of levodopa. However, all patients with Parkinson disease will likely need levodopa at some point.
The Next PD Study?