Behavior Changes

The use of drugs for Parkinson’s, called dopamine agonists can, in some cases, lead to the development of an impulse control disorder (ICD). So while ICD isn’t a direct result of PD, it can be present along with other Parkinson’s symptoms.


ICDs usually affect a small number of patients (less than 10 percent of those receiving the drug). ICDs involve behaviors such as pathological gambling, compulsive sexual behavior, excessive shopping, and binge eating. It is not unusual for people to engage in these behaviors online. If not recognized and controlled, they can have devastating effects on families.

While this occurs in a minority of patients, it is a side effect of medication PD patients and those who are closest to them should know about. Being aware of the link between dopamine agonists and ICDs increases the likelihood that this kind of complication will be recognized and treated sooner rather than later. If left untreated, ICDs can have devastating financial and emotional consequences for individuals and families.

Consult with your physician if you notice any significant behavioral changes. Treatment typically consists of medication modifications or discontinuation, but should always be done with your doctor's supervision.

APDA PUBLICATIONS Star.Final

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