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Medications for Restless Legs Syndrome may Trigger Compulsive Gambling

fter she started taking the medication. She developed an uncontrollable urge to gamble when visiting the nearby casino. As the dose increased, her gambling compulsion grew stronger. The transition of her therapy to another dopamine agonist, ropinirole, further increased her compulsion to gamble. Prior to her treatment for RLS, she had no history of gambling and viewed gamblers as “unfortunate individuals,” the authors report. The patient lost more than $140,000 from gambling.

Mayo Clinic physicians discontinued the dopamine agonist therapy and her urge to gamble completely disappeared, but the troublesome leg sensations returned. Her RLS is now successfully treated with a non-dopamine agonist, gabapentin, and she has no side effects, according to the authors.

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