Liz Scott (Aug 2013)

20140321_Liz Scott_005C_SMALLThank you for all the positive feedback for my last two articles about medication.

Just a quick word now about dopamine agonists. The ones we use most frequently are ropinirole (Requip) and pramipexole (Mirapexin).

Dopamine agonists work by switching on the dopamine receptors so that the brain thinks that it is dopamine. The advantage over levodopa is that they do not interact with protein so can be taken with meals. They have a longer life in the body so if you are taking the immediate release ropinirole and pramipexole they need to be taken three times a day at 6 – 8 hourly intervals e.g. 8am, 2pm, 8pm.
There is a prolonged release version of ropinirole and this can be taken once daily either in the morning or evening. Dopamine agonists can be very effective, but have one unusual but rare side effect, which can cause a condition called impulse control disorder, which causes people to behave out of character.

I have mentioned this before and if you think you may be experiencing this, please contact me or Dr Jackson. For more detailed information see the Parkinson’s UK Drugs Booklet and the Impulsive and Compulsive Behaviour factsheet.