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Penn researchers: Naltrexone may diminish impulse control disorders in Parkinson's disease patients
Date:7/30/2014

(PHILADELPHIA) Up to 20 percent of Parkinson's disease (PD) patients and their families may confront a common but largely unrecognized challenge: the occurrence of impulse control disorders (ICDs) such as compulsive gambling, sexual behavior, eating, or spending. Yet the presence of PD in these patients can severely limit or complicate treatment options. A team of investigators from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the Parkinson's Disease Research, Education and Clinical Center (PADRECC) at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center conducted a pilot study and found that the opioid antagonist naltrexone may be an effective treatment for diminishing ICD symptoms in PD patients. The results were published in the journal Neurology.

Researchers believe that these issues may arise as a result of medications used to treat the disease, but also could be a result of the disease itself, or a combination of both. ICDs can create financial, personal, employment, and social problems that add to the burden on patients and caregivers whose lives are already devastated by PD.

A sample of 50 PD patients, all of whom began displaying their ICD symptoms after both the onset of PD and the initiation of dopamine agonist treatment (which was continued normally during the course of the study) were placed on a placebo-controlled flexible dose of naltrexone, 50-100 mg/day.

Naltrexone was FDA approved for the treatment of alcohol dependence in 1994. Since then, a number of studies have confirmed its efficacy in reducing frequency and severity of relapse to drinking. It is less commonly used in the treatment of opioid addiction and rapid detoxification.

Patients were assessed by several evaluation measures, chiefly the Clinical Global Impression-Change (CGI-C), which was completed by a clinician, and the Questionnaire for Impulsive-Compulsive Disorders in Parkinson's Disease-Rating Scale (QUIP-RS),
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Contact: Lee-Ann Donegan
leeann.donegan@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5660
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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