Advertisement

Can compulsive behaviors be a side effect of medication?

The side effects of some drugs may prompt people to radically change their behavior. For instance, some patients taking Mirapex began noticing behavioral problems they had not experienced before. Some occasional drinkers became heavy drinkers. People who had never been interested in gambling began finding themselves in casinos several times a week, or sitting in front of the computer for hours at a time visiting gambling Web sites.

Others turned into shopaholics, going thousands of dollars into debt because they could not control their spending, while some became hypersexual or began binging on food.

In other words, in some patients, Mirapex can lead to compulsive behaviors.

The drug works by increasing the production of dopamine in the brain to help the basal ganglia regulate body movement.

Parkinson's disease generally is diagnosed in people age 50 or older-and these people naturally have lower dopamine levels. But Mirapex also binds to some of the dopamine receptors in the brain that involve behavior, as well as reward and moods.

In 2005, Mirapex began issuing warnings about these potential side effects. However, some claim these warnings are too little and too late, and several lawsuits have been filed. A man claiming that Mirapex caused his gambling addiction won an $8.2 million lawsuit in August 2008 against the drug's makers, Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim.

Continue Learning about Prescription Drug Adherence

Your Prescription—Right From the Start
Your Prescription—Right From the Start
Has your doctor ever handed you a prescription that you’ve been completely unable to read? But when you hand the mystery message over to the pharmacis...
Read More
What is the ceiling effect of over-the-counter medications?
David KuhlDavid Kuhl
Over-the-counter medications have ceiling effects, that is, a dose at which maximum benefit is achie...
More Answers
How can I ensure that I am giving my child medicine correctly?
Peter N. Mattar, MDPeter N. Mattar, MD
Directions are clearly printed on all medication labels. It is important to follow these directions...
More Answers
How Dangerous Is the Indiscriminate Use of Antibiotics?
How Dangerous Is the Indiscriminate Use of Antibiotics?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.