Get access

Prospective cohort study of impulse control disorders in Parkinson's disease


  • Funding agencies: This study was supported by a center grant from the Parkinson's Disease Foundation. J.B. was supported by a 2011 American Academy of Neurology Medical Student Summer Research Scholarship. P.C. was partially supported by a grant from the Clinical Translational Science Center (2UL1 TR000457-06).

  • Relevant conflicts of interest/financial disclosures: Nothing to report.

  • Full financial disclosures and author roles may be found in the online version of this article.

  • This article first published online ahead of print on January 2, 2013. It has since been updated. “Dopamine agonists (DA)” has been changed to “Dopamine agonists (DAAs)”. Also, the data in Figure 1 has been updated.

Correspondence to: Melissa J. Nirenberg, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Neurology, NYU Parkinson's and Movement Disorders Center, 145 East 32nd Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10016, USA;


Impulse control disorders (ICDs) are potentially serious side effects of dopamine agonist therapy in Parkinson's disease (PD), but prospective data are lacking about their incidence, time course, and risk factors. This work was a 4-year, prospective cohort study of outpatients with PD and no previous ICDs (N = 164). All subjects treated with a dopamine agonist during the study were followed longitudinally for new-onset ICDs. Baseline characteristics were compared in groups with (ICD+) and without (ICD−) subsequent ICDs. Forty-six subjects were treated with a dopamine agonist, including 25 who were newly treated and 21 who received ongoing dopamine agonist therapy. Of these 46 subjects, 18 (39.1%) developed new-onset ICDs. The timing of ICD onset varied from 3.0 to 114.0 months (median, 23.0) after initiation of dopamine agonist therapy. Baseline demographic characteristics were similar in ICD+ and ICD− groups. At baseline, ICD+ subjects had a greater prevalence of motor complications (61.1% versus 25.0%; P = 0.01) than ICD− subjects, despite comparable total dopaminergic medication usage in both groups (median, 150.0 versus 150.0 levodopa equivalents; P = 0.61). Compared with ICD− subjects, ICD+ subjects had a greater baseline prevalence of caffeine use (100% versus 66.7%; P = 0.007) and higher lifetime prevalence of cigarette smoking (44.4% versus 14.3%; P = 0.04). Peak dopamine agonist doses were higher in ICD+ than ICD− subjects (median 300.0 versus 165.0 L-dopa equivalents; P = 0.03), but cumulative dopamine agonist exposure was similar in both groups. In summary, the timing of new-onset ICDs in PD is highly variable. Risk factors include cigarette smoking, caffeine use, motor complications, and higher peak dopamine agonist dosage. © 2013 Movement Disorder Society

Get access to the full text of this article