PD drug and gambling addiction law suit
Though infrequent, I have seen a handful of families in clinic that have experienced some level of financial ruin due to compulsive spending or gambling after beginning a dopamine agonist. Our clinicians do a great job of counseling patients AND spouses about the risk for side effects associated with these drugs, but a handful of patients experience these very troubling compulsive behaviors anyway and often lack insight into their behaviors. These compulsive behaviors nearly always cause hardship, loss, and grief for the patient, the spouse, and their relationship. Our clinicians are careful to assess for the presence of these troubling side effects at follow-up appointments with both the patient and the spouse, but due to the nature of the compulsive behaviors (often secretive) these compulsive behaviors can go on for some time with detection by the spouse or provider.
What is the Social Worker's role in counseling patients and spouses about the risks of these drugs before they start taking them and as they are taking them? How much should providers and Social Workers assess for the existence of these compulsive behaviors beyond discussion of the matter in clinic? There is no doubt that many PD patients can get substantial relief from some of their PD symptoms with the use of these drugs. But the prevalence rate of the terrible side effects associated with the use of DAs seems to be high enough that it begs the question of weighing the risk vs. the reward in taking these medications. There are other side effects associated with these drugs that are more common than compulsive behaviors (fatigue) that are troubling to PD patients as well.
I would love to hear others' thoughts on this matter. Specifically:
- How much do your providers use these DAs in the treatment of PD?
- What is the prevalence rate of the compulsive behaviors side effect in the use of DAs?
- How frequently do you see the terrible side effects of compulsive behaviors in the use of these drugs?
- And ultimately how can we as social workers intervene to assist families with this issue?