Drug Side Effects Lead to Addictive Behavior
Researchers are finding that Parkinson’s patients are struggling with the side effects of their medications. According to a recent medical article, the obsessive nature of these side effects are causing Parkinson’s sufferers to turn to addictive behaviors.
The disease has impacted nearly 127,000 residents in British Columbia. The incurable disease is a degenerative one that causes the brain to die as nerve cells die. This causes a lack of dopamine, a chemical in the brain that directs coordination and movement.
Because there is no cure for Parkinson’s, many patients turn to two medications, dopamine agonist and levodopa. Dopamine has been around for a little more than a decade while levodopa has been used for nearly half a century. The result is to merely alleviate the patient’s symptoms and give them a normalcy as it pertains to their physical well being.
The role both medications play is an important one. The drugs act as a way to artificially stimulate the brain’s nerve cells. While this is a great thing for Parkinson’s patients and their loved ones, the problem comes with the side effects. Addictive behavior is becoming the most prevalent of the side effects, especially for sex and gambling. Nearly 17 percent of patients taking one, both, or a combination of the two medicines have developed some sort of behavior change, according to the research.
Only a minority of patients taking the medications are seeing significant changes and studies are showing that the problems are more showcased with patients who already have these tendencies. Experts said that every patient will react in a different manner to the drugs used to treat Parkinson’s. Working closely with their physicians these patients can keep on top of changes in behavior and address medicine dosage accordingly.