Severe impulse control disorders involving pathological gambling, hypersexuality, and compulsive shopping have been reported in association with the use of dopamine receptor agonist drugs in case series and retrospective patient surveys. These agents are used to treat Parkinson disease, restless leg syndrome, and hyperprolactinemia.
To analyze serious adverse drug event reports about these impulse control disorders received by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and to assess the relationship of these case reports with the 6 FDA-approved dopamine receptor agonist drugs.
Design, Setting, and Participants
We conducted a retrospective disproportionality analysis based on the 2.7 million serious domestic and foreign adverse drug event reports from 2003 to 2012 extracted from the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Cases were selected if they contained any of 10 preferred terms in the Medical Dictionary for Regulatory Activities (MedDRA) that described the abnormal behaviors. We used the proportional reporting ratio (PRR) to compare the proportion of target events to all serious events for the study drugs with a similar proportion for all other drugs.
We identified 1580 events indicating impulse control disorders from the United States and 21 other countries:710 fordopamine receptor agonist drugs and 870 for other drugs. The dopamine receptor agonist drugs had a strong signal associated with these impulse control disorders (n = 710; PRR = 277.6, P < .001). The association was strongest for the dopamine agonists pramipexole (n = 410; PRR = 455.9, P < .001) and ropinirole (n = 188; PRR = 152.5, P < .001), with preferential affinity for the dopamine D3 receptor. A signal was also seen for aripiprazole, an antipsychotic classified as a partial agonist of the D3 receptor (n = 37; PRR = 8.6, P < .001).
Conclusions and Relevance
Our findings confirm and extend the evidence that dopamine receptor agonist drugs are associated with these specific impulse control disorders. At present, none of the dopamine receptor agonist drugs approved by the FDA have boxed warnings as part of their prescribing information. Our data, and data from prior studies, show the need for more prominent warnings.