Eleven people with Parkinson's disease temporarily became compulsive gamblers after taking a class of drugs designed to control movement problems caused by the illness, a new study reports.Wow, that is pretty amazing. There is now a drug that can turn (some) people into complusive gamblers. And it looks as if they might be able to do the opposite and make a drug that lowers dopamine to stop compulsive gamblers. A few weeks ago we had a nasal spray that could increase trust, now a drug to make you a compulsive gambler, what next?
In addition, six of the patients in the new report developed other behavioral problems in tandem with the pathological gambling. These included compulsive eating, increased alcohol consumption, and an obsession with sex.
The 11 case studies presented in the new study were startling, not just for the dramatic onset of a dangerous compulsion, but because the reduction or discontinuation of the drug resulted in an equally dramatic cessation of the habit.
One 52-year-old married man started gambling "uncontrollably" after raising the dose of his dopamine agonist. His wife phoned the neurologist to report that her husband had lost more than $100,000, was eating compulsively -- he gained 50 pounds -- and had an obsession with sex that resulted in him carrying on an extramarital affair. The man lost his excessive interest in gambling and sex when the medication was tapered off, according to the report.