Friday, June 4, 2010

Gambling and Parkinson’s Disease

An addendum to the previous post.

Today, a group of Australians taking medications for Parkinson's Disease have filed a class action suit against makers of the drugs, according to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald.

 The Australian newspaper said that "The group includes people who sustained losses of hundreds of thousands of dollars and were involved in family breakdowns as a result of compulsive gambling allegedly linked to drugs they took between 1997 and last year. Most of the claimants developed gambling addictions but a few exhibited compulsive sexual behavior such as looking at pornography on the Internet.”

The drugs involved are dopamine agonists Cabaser and Permax. An agonist binds to particular receptor sites and mimics the action of the substance that normally occupies the site.

A study published in the May issue of Archives of Neurology concluded that, “Dopamine agonist treatment in PD (Parkinson's Disease) is associated with 2- to 3.5-fold increased odds of having an ICD (impulse control disorder)."

According to the study, 13% of the patients were adversely affected by the drugs, exhibiting impulse control problems with gambling (5 percent), sexual behavior (3.5 percent), shopping (5.7 percent) and binge eating (4.3 percent).

The case is not without precedent, according to the Herald. In 2008, “a jury in Minnesota awarded $8.2 million to a man who became a compulsive gambler after using Mirapex (made by Boehringer Ingelheim) to treat his Parkinson's disease. Other lawsuits are being considered in Canada, Britain and France.”

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