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Prevalence of hypersexual behavior in Parkinson’s disease patients: Not restricted to males and dopamine agonist use

Authors Christine A Cooper, Armon Jadidian, Michelle Paggi, Janet Romrell, Michael S Okun, et al

Published 20 March 2009 Volume 2009:2 Pages 57—61


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Peer reviewer comments 5

Christine A Cooper, Armon Jadidian, Michelle Paggi, Janet Romrell, Michael S Okun, et al

Department of Neurology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA

Abstract: This study investigates the prevalence and demographic characteristics of hypersexuality in Parkinson’s disease (PD). Impulse control disorders in PD patients have been associated with dopamine agonist therapy. Moreover, hypersexuality and pathological gambling have been associated with males, while females may be inherently thought to be more likely to participate in compulsive shopping and binge-eating behaviors. In this study, a screening mail-in survey was sent to all PD patients at a single Movement Disorders Center. One  hundred forty one of 400 (35.3%) research packets were returned completed. Fifteen of 141 patients met initial screening criteria for hypersexual behavior. After detailed interview, only 6/141 (4.3%) of PD patients met criteria for pathologic hypersexual behavior. These behaviors included: compulsive masturbation, prostitution, and paraphilias. Patients with a younger age of PD onset were more likely to exhibit hypersexual behavior. Unlike previous report, no significant association was found between hypersexuality and gender or dopamine agonist use. Rather, this study suggests that physicians should be vigilant for hypersexual behavior in all PD patients, regardless of gender and PD medication regimen. Ultimately, given the innate sensitivity of the topic and survey limitations, it is very likely that hypersexual behavior in our cohort, as it is in the general PD population, has been under-reported.

Keywords: Parkinson’s disease, hypersexuality, impulsive behavior, dopamine agonists

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