Increased prevalence of impulse control disorder symptoms in endocrine diseases treated with dopamine agonists: a cross-sectional study

G. Beccuti, F. Guaraldi, G. Natta, V. Cambria, N. Prencipe, A. Cicolin, E. Montanaro, L. Lopiano, E. Ghigo, M. Zibetti, S. Grottoli

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Introduction: Impulse control disorders (ICDs) have been described as a side effect of dopamine agonists (DAs) in neurological as well as endocrine conditions. Few studies have evaluated the neuropsychological effect of DAs in hyperprolactinemic patients, and these have reported a relationship between DAs and ICDs. Our objective was to screen for ICD symptoms in individuals with DA-treated endocrine conditions. Materials and methods: A cross-sectional analysis was conducted on 132 patients with pituitary disorders treated with DAs (DA exposed), as well as 58 patients with pituitary disorders and no history of DA exposure (non-DA exposed). Participants responded to the full version of the Questionnaire for Impulsive-Compulsive Disorders in Parkinson’s disease (QUIP). Results: Compared with the non-DA-exposed group, a higher prevalence of DA-exposed patients tested positive for symptoms of any ICD or related behavior (52% vs. 31%, p < 0.01), any ICD (46% vs. 24%, p < 0.01), any related behavior (31% vs. 17%, p < 0.05), compulsive sexual behavior (27% vs. 14%, p < 0.04), and punding (20% vs. 7%, p < 0.02) by QUIP. On univariate analysis, DA treatment was associated with a two- to threefold increased risk of any ICD or related behavior [odds ratio (OR) 2.43] and any ICD (OR 2.70). In a multivariate analysis, independent risk factors for any ICD or related behavior were DA use (adjusted OR 2.22) and age (adjusted OR 6.76). Male gender was predictive of the risk of hypersexuality (adjusted OR 3.82). Discussion: Despite the QUIP limitations, a clear sign of increased risk of ICDs emerges in individuals with DA-treated pituitary disorders. Our data contribute to the growing evidence of DA-induced ICDs in endocrine conditions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Endocrinological Investigation
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Cabergoline
  • Dopamine agonists
  • Hyperprolactinemia
  • Impulse control disorders
  • Pituitary adenoma
  • QUIP questionnaire

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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