Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Bad side effect--losing all your money


…Did Restless Leg Syndrome just start? People in the commercials are depicted as having cartoon ants swarming over their gams.

…A woman in one is trying eat lunch with her brother and has to leap up and sort of run in place. Apparently, he says, yeah, I get that, too.

…I am sure it’s awful to have that feeling—but the commercials are sort of funny, at least to a person as warped as HA.

…OK, enough mocking of the afflicted!

…The Mayo Clinic, though, has done a study saying the major medicine for this—a dopamine receptor stimulator—can turn you into a compulsive gambler or if you already gamble, make you a worse risk-taker.

…Two cases they documented featured patients who ran up losses of more than $100K.

…This was reported in the Jan 23 issue of Neurology.

…Although this quirky side effect occurs rarely, docs are now advised to ask about a person’s gaming history before prescribing. Family members also are asked to rat the person out if they sneak out to the track or casino.

…Dopamine agonists have also caused gambling impulse control problems when given to Parkinson’s patients, though in much larger doses.

…Problems began in the patients Mayo studied about nine months after starting pramipexole or ropinirole. These target the part of the brain involved in reward behaviors.

…One woman on ropinirole was in a casino and bam! She was drawn to the gambling, even though she previously thought gamblers were “sick.”

…After losing $140K, she went off the medicine, lost the will to hit the slots, but also got her Restless Legs back. She was put on another medication and is fine now.

…HA guesses the only restless legs patients should see are theirs—not a race horse’s or greyhound’s.

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