Half of consultants don't screen Parkinson's patients for 'devastating' side effects

Published on Thursday, 05 July 2012 11:56
Written by Scott Buckler

People with Parkinson's are being left unscreened for impulsive and compulsive behaviour - a possible side effect of some Parkinson's drugs - we reveal today in new research

The research was commissioned to time with the launch of our new information campaign to raise awareness of impulsive and compulsive behaviour.And it paints a concerning picture about how the condition is monitored by consultants.

Although only a relatively small number of people experience this behaviour, it can have a significant impact on the person affected and those around them.

Raising awareness of pre-screening

82% of consultants questioned could identify someone with impulsive and compulsive behaviour.

But less than half (48%) pre-screen patients before prescribing medication such as dopamine agonists - one of the medications known to cause this type of behaviour.

We are encouraging all healthcare professionals working with people who are about to start taking Parkinson's medication to be aware of the signs and pre-screen their patients before prescribing.

Risk factors for developing this side effect can include:

  • being diagnosed with Parkinson's under the age of 50
  • having a family or personal history of risk-taking or impulsive or compulsive behaviour, such as addictive gambling

We've launched an information tool for healthcare professionals to assess and monitor their patients with Parkinson's for impulsive and compulsive behaviour:

Impulsive and compulsive behaviour in Parkinson's monitoring and information tool

Be aware of the signs

Daiga Heisters, our head of professional engagement and education, comments:

"Impulsive and compulsive behaviour can devastate lives and that's why this information campaign is essential.

"We need all healthcare professionals who work with people with Parkinson's to be aware of the signs of this type of behaviour and make sure they discuss this with their patients.

"Parkinson's drugs, such as dopamine agonists, are very effective for many thousands of people.

"But they must be monitored so that people with Parkinson's get the symptomatic relief they need."

Source: ©Parkinson's UK

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