"Restless Leg Syndrome" = Gambling Addiction?

OK, so I’m watching TV, and after a silly commercial there’s the usual litany of recommended medicines, whereas they rapidly rattle off the side effects. Whatever, I’m used to it. “Side effects include loss of breath, explosive diarrhea, and scrotal warts.” Anyway, this medicine is used for “Restless Leg Syndrome.” The commercial says “Side effect may include a gambling addiction.” Say WHAT? OK, I’m cool with the routine ridiculous legalese, but a gambling addiction? Call me crazy, but doesn’t that strike you as a kinda freaky form of medicine? Do they have studies? Sexual side-effects I can handle, but a gambling addiction? What is the Science behind that one?

That ad caught my attention too. I wasn’t skeptical, just surprised they listed it in the commercial. Latest research seems to indicate that neurochemistry plays a large part in addictive disorders. We like to think we have conscious control of our behavior but … probably not so much. People with Parkinson’s disease are also known to be prone to gambling disorders.

Yeah, I did a mental double-take when I heard that commercial. I’m sure that obsessive-compulsive behavior, in general, has a biochemical component, but why specifically gambling? Is there a specific chemical that exacerbates compulsive gambling more than other addictive behavior? And what is its connection with Restless Leg Syndrome?

The medication in question–name escapes me–increases risk-taking behavior in a certain percentage of people who take it. Another possible side-effect is sleeping around, another risk-taking activity. As far as I know, there isn’t an explanation for this yet, but we’ve been told (VeryCoolSpouse has RLS) that it’s well documented.

YMMV (Ours does, VCS has not shown any risky behavior that either of us has noticed. Unless you count adopting our 4th Chinese daughter.)

I believe the side effects that need to be disclosed are based on what actually manifests itself during the clinical trials. So if whatever change in brain chemistry affected the trial group resulted in a statistically significantly greater amount of compulsive gambling than the control group, they would then be required to report it.

Maybe next time they won’t do their clinical trials in Vegas. :slight_smile:

Hmmmmmm. There are people who don’t take enough risk in their lives, or they go way too far to avoid risky situations. I’m wondering if there’s been a study to see if they benefit from this drug.

I mentioned in another thread recently that I read a fascinating article about a woman who took this drug, and the next thing you know, she had gambled away her and her husband’s entire life savings! It was in Chicago Magazine. The weirdest part was that she had NEVER gambled in her life. It wasn’t like she would play the slots occasionally, and her behavior ramped up…it was a completely new thing for her.

I don’t remember the exact brain chemistry issue, but it had something to do with that…as NoCoolUserName said, it can increase risk-taking behavior.

After I read the previous thread, I found the article Sarahfeena mentioned online.

Betting Her Life

Scary, scary stuff. The drugs in question are dopamine agonistes, which are used to treat Parkinson’s and restless leg. The side effect is extremely rare (one study of Parkinson’s patients found 14 of 1000 developed a gambling addiction), but quite strange. Apparently the drug takes away the brain’s ability to process the negative consequences of certain risky behaviors.

Here’s the previous thread, which started as a Pitting but turned into an interesting discussion.

Thanks for the link SpoilerVirgin - I missed that one.

I heard this commercial this morning. It mentioned gambling and mumble sexual addiction mumble.

So, some people will be getting no rest whether they take this drug or not!

Obsessive Adoption Disorder?
:slight_smile:
I keed. Kudos to you and the spouse.

It’s really strange what sort of behaviors can be related chemically. I take a medication that was originally developed to treat seizures. But I take it because it controls compulsive eating. As a fringe benefit, it also controls compulsive shopping. I’ve been able to save like crazy. Once I decide to shop, I usually do it through catalogs and it takes me days to get around to it.

When I went to Paris, I bought a few things for my granddaughter who was with me, but for myself I bought a paperback book. There may have been something else, but I can’t think of it. Certainly nothing special.

Brain chemistry shifts a little and we change a lot.