Senior citizens who suffer from Parkinsons disease may want to exercise caution with a certain treatment for the condition, according to a new study.
Mayo Clinic Researchers say a class of drugs used to treat Parkinson's disease may lead to the development of psychological disorders.
Dopamine agonists like ropinirole and pramipexole were studied in 267 Parkinson's patients over a three-year period.
Researchers found that roughly 16 percent of the participants who were taking that class of Parkinson's drug developed hypersexuality or gambling problems, while none of the patients on other drugs developed such symptoms.
"The onset [of symptoms] can be insidious and overlooked until life-altering problems develop, says Dr J.
Eric Ahlskog, co-author of the study, adding that while reducing the dose may be beneficial, many patients have to stop treatment entirely.
The study reported that the findings are "definitive," in establishing a link between the medications and the side effects reported by patients.
Dopamine has been previously linked to gambling addictions and hypersexuality in an earlier study by the clinic.
Another drug, modafinil that is used to treat sleeping disorders, was found to cause dopamine imbalances, causing researchers from Brookhaven National Laboratory to raise concerns over the possibility of dependence or abuse.