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January 13th, 2010
Reducing Dosage of Parkinson’s Drug can Lead to Withdrawal Symptoms

Patients taking drugs for Parkinson’s disease who reduce their dosage level have been found to experience symptoms similar to those felt by drug addicts in withdrawal. These symptoms can include anxiety, panic attacks, pain, dizziness and drug cravings and are set off by the lowered level of dopamine agonists, a type of drug commonly used to treat Parkinson’s disease.

Dopamine agonists are commonly prescribed for Parkinson’s patients as an alternative to L-DOPA, which can cause too many negative side effects in patients. These prescription drugs, also known as Mirapex and Requip, are also prescribed for restless leg syndrome. The drugs work by stimulating the reward pathways in the brain, much like cocaine and methamphetamines. This similarity makes it easier to understand why patients taking dopamine agonists would experience withdrawal symptoms akin to those of a drug addict.

Researchers have nicknamed the symptoms, “dopamine agonist withdrawal syndrome” and have begun studying its effects. In the most recent study, the medical records of 93 patients with Parkinson’s disease were examined by researchers. Out of the patients studied, five experienced the withdrawal syndrome. Three of those patients could not adjust to the symptoms and went back to dopamine agonists. Researchers found that this resulting drug dependency had the possibility of leading to impulse control problems, which can include obsessive behaviours related to gambling, eating, shopping, or sexual activity.

More information about the study can be found in the Jan 12. issue of Archives of Neurology. To find more medical research on prescription drugs for Parkinson’s and other diseases, visit www.orderonlinedrugs.com

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