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Requip Linked to Compulsive Behavior Disorders
Requip contains the active ingredient ropinirole, which is used to control tremors associated with Parkinson's Disease (PD) and Restless Leg Syndrome. However, drugs like Requip (and Mirapex) have been associated with pathological gambling and other compulsive behaviors-- the benefits of these medications may come at a very high price tag for some patients.
Requip Compulsive Behavior
Even though most users of Requip have never experienced compulsive behaviors before starting the drug, many victims have developed addictions during its use. Fortunately, the behavior subsides once the drug is discontinued but for many victims, financial damage is irreparable.
Parkinson's patients prescribed Requip have experienced a gamut of behavioral changes, from simply buying lottery tickets to pathological gambling. Other patients have developed serious OCD (obsessive compulsive disorders) as well as aggressive sexual impulses, overeating, medication abuse, and personality changes. Most victims have no idea of any behavioral changes and as a result, they can suffer long periods of debilitating and destructive behavior, all the while completely unaware that the drug was causing the problem and that it would cease if they discontinued taking it.
(In 2006, a retired doctor filed a $14 million lawsuit against the manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline, the world's second largest pharmaceutical company, and several casinos, alleging Requip turned him into a compulsive gambler.)
Requip belongs to a group of drugs known as dopamine agonists, which work by activating dopamine receptors, mimicking the effect of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Like Mirapex, it is designed to increase the production of dopamine. PD causes sufferers to gradually lose dopamine. Thus, they actually develop an aversion to the type of impulsive behavior associated with excess dopamine. When Mirapex, Requip, or another dopamine agonist is introduced, the behavioral changes in those adversely affected can be both quick and dramatic. Dopamine also affects brain processes that control emotional responses and a person's ability to experience pleasure and pain; therefore it is thought to play a role in addictive behavior.
In July, 2006 the Mayo Clinic published a study in the Archives of Neurology that identified 11 Parkinson's patients who developed a gambling habit while taking Mirapex or Requip between 2002 and 2004. After the study was released, 14 additional Mayo patients were diagnosed with the problem. The Mayo Clinic further analyzed findings in 5 prior studies and confirmed that commonly prescribed dopamine agonists have been associated with pathological gambling.
Another study, by Scotland's Institute of Neurological Sciences, found 8 percent of patients taking dopamine agonists experienced pathological gambling problems. It also found dopamine so effective against the Parkinson's symptoms that users were reluctant to say if they were experiencing compulsive behavior problems.
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Last updated on Mar-18-09
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Bensalem, PA: "When I found out Requip is to blame for my gambling I was relieved that I wasn't a bad person but I don't think my family will ever forgive me," says Cass, crying. It is very difficult for her to talk but she wants to get her story told. Cass's gambling—a Requip side effect-- was so out of control that she stole her boyfriend's credit cards and more [READ MORE]
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