Dopamine gambling link

GPs should warn patients with restless leg syndrome that low-dose dopamine agonists could give them a pathological gambling habit, say experts.

This problem has only previously been reported in patients with Parkinson’s disease taking stronger doses of the drug.

A report from the US focuses on three patients with restless leg syndrome whose gambling compulsion started when they began taking 0.5mg pramipexole (Mirapexin) daily. In one patient, gambling started after 0.25mg ropinirole (Requip) daily.

Two patients had been low-key recreational gamblers before treatment and a third had never gambled before. Around nine months after treatment began, patients developed gambling compulsions. These subsided when treatment stopped.

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