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Dopamine

MagazineApril 2009 (Vol. 20 Issue 1)Dopamine

Dopamine-agonist drugs seem to have a very strange effect on people who suffer from Parkinson's disease: it turns them into compulsive gamblers

Dopamine-agonist drugs seem to have a very strange effect on people who suffer from Parkinson's disease: it turns them into compulsive gamblers.

More than 7 per cent of Parkinson's sufferers who take the drugs develop the compulsion, a problem that other-wise afflicts only 1 per cent of the general population.

But gambling isn't the only form of compulsive behaviour triggered by these drugs. Patients are also almost as likely to become compulsive shop-pers or hypersexual-addicted to sex.

The gambling problem, though, is expecially prevalent among younger patients who take these drugs, or take a dopamine agonist together with levodopa.


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