Impulse Control Disorder sent my father to prison

This is a WARNING that hopefully many PD patients and carers will now know about…

Impulse control disorders (ICD) are frequent side effects of dopamine replacement therapy (DRT) used in Parkinson’s disease (PD) with devastating consequences on both the patients and caregivers.

ICD unfortunately seem to be a massive taboo subject and very difficult for patients and carers and the general public to talk about as they involve behavioural addictions including compulsive gambling, shopping, sexual behaviour, and binge eating. All mainly associated with dopamine D2/D3 agonists. Their management is a real clinical challenge due to the lack of medicated alternatives for PD patients.

Clinical studies have shown that there are clinical risk factors for ICD such as younger age at disease onset, male gender, prior history of depression or substance abuse, REM sleep behaviour disorders and higher rate of dyskinesia. Sadly all of these applied to my dear father and he began to develop the ICD side effects in 2010-2012.

Specific evaluation tools have now been designed to better evaluate the severity and impact of ICD in PD. Unfortunately in 2010-2012 when my father was (unknowingly to him or us) displaying the behaviours, assessments and medical knowledge of the side effects were not available. Staff were ill-equipped to properly assess my father which subsequently led him down a road of destruction. Patients with ICD display altered processing of reward and loss, and decisional bias associated with altered activity in cortical and subcortical areas of the brain.

In 2012, my father was experiencing extreme physical debilitating PD symptoms on his current medication and so qualified for a PEJ to be fitted at Kings College Hospital in London so that Duodopa could be administered. It was at this point that he realised what had happened. My father regained some independence and his mind and thinking was altered back to normal. He described the experience as coming out of a torturous fog. However, coming out of the fog came with its catastrophic consequences. He realised what had happened and went with my mother to the police station.

Horrifically after an arduous court case spanning over months and months, in 2017 my father was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment for a disease and the medication that was supposed to help him!

It is a cruel outcome and my father has been grossly let down by the lack of medical understanding in the justice system. Fortunately we are a supportive and loving family and we have done our research and found that his is not to blame and the justice system needs to update its links with medicine.

I intend to do anything I can to ensure that other families are aware of these devastating side effects and don’t succumb to the same pain, torment and suffering that we are all going through.

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Hi @OneStar,

First of all, my thoughts go out to you and you family, what has happened to your dad is absolutely devastating. Secondly, you are right about ICD, a lot of people do not realise that impulsive and compulsive behaviour is a possible side effect of some Parkinson’s drugs. We have extensive information on this topic on our website for this reason. If you’d like to share this information, you can find it here -

This is really an unfortunate outcome for you and your family and it wouldn’t be surprising if this affected you emotionally. Therefore, you might find it helpful to speak to someone about this either via our helpline or a local adviser. You can find information on both here -

Do take care.

Best wishes,

Hi Reah,
The info you refer OneStar to states, ’ Only a small number of people are affected …’…Please note the latest French research puts it at 50% of patients on a therapeutic dose of DAs.
The Mayo Clinic published devastating research results in 2010…
The greed of the drug companies will keep this information out of the public gaze.
I understand their profit-driven motives but PDUK has never challenged the horrific destruction they have inflicted on Parkinson’s patients or their families.
Tens of thousands of lives ruined over 20 years and never a legal challenge in the U.K.,unlike the USA, France and Australia.
Why did you never support us?


I totally agree with you I got myself in loads of trouble because of the pd medication, I was on 18mg of requip xl a day

Hi Onestar,

Sincerely sorry to hear this and must be awful.

Can I ask if you or others are aware to how long before symptoms of ICD can appear? Are there any specific medications that have been linked to ICD that you are aware to? or is it any/ all of them?

Very nervous after seeing that younger onset seems to have more chance of this happening with the meds.

Hi Ken2468.

I am so sorry to hear you have suffered the devastating ICD side effects aswell. I hope you are ok now and managing your PD symptoms with other medication?

May I ask how your ICD symptoms came to light? I’d like to know if medical screening has improved now? My father was just simply asked in the consultation room with the PD consultant or the PD nurse if he was experiencing hyper sexuality or increased desire in any activities. As my father wasn’t aware of the damage that the ICD symptoms were causing or the severity of the desires, he used to either deny the side effects or down play them. Sadly it is very difficult for PD patients at this stage to realise they are even displaying the ICD symptoms because the reward system in the brain is stimulated to such a degree that the actions feel good and the desire to repeat the action is so great. Therefore PD sufferers do not wish to disclose the behaviours because their brains are being filled with so much pleasure that they do not see a fault. Its a devastating and confusing side effect that unfortunately is not highlighted enough. Please know that you are not alone and it is far more common than people realise.

I am astounded that it is so common and yet people are still being incarcerated for it. Initially when i contacted PD UK 3 years ago they offered me telephone counselling. This is fine and very kind but it did not help my father escape a prison sentence. Ultimately, he is serving a sentence for a disease.

The NHS and the drug company took no responsibility for their actions.

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I was in the police cells all weekend for the 2nd time and without my medication, so without it being in my system I realised that it was the medication that was making me send my girlfriend nasty text and accusations, and I had to keep going to my doctor and she would keep sending my consultant letters telling him my concerns, then we got a Parkinson’s nurse and I explained to her the urges I was getting and eventually got my medication changed. Then I got a new consultant who told me he was getting me off the requip because it gave bad impulse behaviour.

Hi Jamesvana

Thanks for your message. Im sorry to read you have early onset PD. Although there are risk factors that should be seriously considered, please know that the ICD symptoms do not effect everyone. You are wise to question it though and i would highly recommend you having an open and frank discussion with the PD nurse and consultant asap. And please please attend the clinic appointment with a caregiver/partner. Often the symptoms are not depicted in the same way by the patient as they are the caregiver. Do read the link below if you’re interested?

Unfortunately the crimes my father was committing were over the period of 2 years when my father had reached a peak in his medication. Due to the nature of the side effects, the actions became very secretive and he didn’t realise how damaging the behaviours were. If you met my father pre PD and ICD you would be shocked. He was a kind normal man with a full time job and a young family. He slowly transformed into a different unrecognisable man. He became very reclusive and defensive if you challenged him about anything. We have now realised he didn’t just display one ICD. When he was at his worst, he also displayed punding (would take things apart and then rebuild through the night), excessive eating (packets and packets of chocolate and biscuits especially in the night), excessive shopping (thousands of debt for my mother)…the list goes on. Unfortunately we were uneducated and unsupported and we made naive excuses for his behaviour. We had not been informed about ICD side effects to look out for. My father was immobile most of the time as his “off periods” were severe…dribbling, unable to swallow safely, unable to breathe comfortably etc. He sipped through a straw, my brother used to help him to the toilet…etc. My father had reached a stage in the disease where it was not manageable. so when he had his periods of being “on” and able to eat a biscuit or work on his car or buy a new piece of electrical equipment, we allowed and accepted it. It took years before we all realised what was happening. My mother took away the credit card in the hope that he would stop spending. however we didn’t realise that he was suffering with hyper sexuality beyond measure and this was most damaging of all. Unfortunately we just thought that the PD had changed his behaviour. We didn’t realise he was suffering from ICD.

My advice would be to attend every clinic appointment and with the support of a partner/someone that lives with you and have very frank discussions about ICD. There is so much on the internet and also on PDUK about ICD so hopefully medical professionals are better equipped now to support potential sufferers.

Take Care

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Thank you Reah for your reply. I have been a family member of a patient with PD for 19 years and have been living in the aftermath of ICD’s for 3 years. I already understand what ICDs are but thank you for the link. and I already have support.
I am however keen for people to understand how important it is for friends and family to observe their loved one with PD to ensure that ICD symptoms are caught early and medication can be altered or halted to prevent catastrophic behaviour. I can not believe that ICD’s are not discussed more in depth at each appointment. I follow a few instagram groups and people including Michael J Fox and there is not one mention of ICD’s. Where is the voice for patients with ICDs? Where is the warning for other families?


Thank you goldengirl for highlighting this

Hi @OneStar,

You’re welcome.

Parkinson’s affects everyone differently and the drugs used to manage the condition can cause different side affects for people as well. Therefore, it is not guaranteed that people with Parkinson’s will experience ICD, however, we have information on this via our website about this potential sided affect and of course, the forum is also here for people to share their experiences as well. Our helpline advisers have extensive knowledge on ICD and anyone affected by Parkinson’s can contact them for information and support. If you’d like to speak one of our advisers, please give us a call on 0808 800 0303 or email them at [email protected].

I hope this helps with your query.

Best wishes,

hi every one i had a real bad time on requip i think it was called all the gambling and the rest of it any one suffering the same i would be ok to talk to anyone about what happend to me i was jeckel and hyde didnt relise it went on for 2 years prefer to talk one to one im in liverpool so text me if you wanted a chat how you feeling or anything ive had pd since was 35 now 53

My partner is serving a prison sentence for what sound like a similar reason.
He was diagnosed in 2016 after about 10-12 years or so of symptoms which went undiagnosed.
He was given Madopar by the consultant, a fairly low dose. A month later he went to his doctor and the prescription given was wrong - she had doubled the dose in error. His behaviour changed but only slightly (my family noticed it, but I didn’t) but 8 months into the over medication, he commited the crime for which he is in prison for. Prior to the Parkinsons medication being prescribed you could not find a kinder and lovelier person, hard working, had a good career. The police investigation could find no evidence to suggest this was a life long tendency. However having been advised by his barrister that he would not receive a custodial sentence he was told to plead guilty because the offences had taken place. The barrister obtained some medical evidence to provide to the court, but it wasn’t enough and coupled with the pre sentence report done by an ill qualified probation officer who said basically he was using the drugs as an excuse. He was sent to prison for 5 1/2 years.
His symptoms are slowly getting worse and he is anxious that by the time he is released they will have got even worse. He is unable to follow the diet & exercise regime which we followed before he went to prison. During lockdown he has been restricted to a short walk and not allowed to use the gym. Fortunately he was lucky to be able to continue his work in the prison gardens, otherwise I am sure his mental health would have been terrible. I haven’t seen him since the end of a February.
My family would never want anyone to go through anything like this. A kind, decent man has been dealt the worst possible hand, he doesn’t deserve any of this. The judiciary, and the NHS have let him done s very badly. We tried to appeal but the judge stuck to the original reasons, did not really acknowledge that this mans personality had been altered completely by the medicine that was meant to make him better. He has one year left to serve before he is released on licence. Then I will try to fight to clear his name and get some form of justice.

Hi @Gemini1, :wave:

A warm welcome to the forum.

I’m truly sorry to hear about your father’s experience with impulsive behaviour and how this affected you and your family. This thread alone will let you know how impulsive and compulsive behaviours (as a side effect to Parkinson’s related medication) has affected multiple members on this forum and you are certainly not alone on this. I’m sure you’ll receive some supportive messages from the community soon, however, in the interim we have a lot of information on impulsive and compulsive behaviour on the Parkinson’s UK website which may be helpful to you. You can find this info here:

I hope this is useful to you.

Best wishes,
Forum Community Manager

My husband has had PD for 10 years and ICD for who knows how long. He won’t let me attend appointments with his nurse or consultant, so plays down the impact of his behaviours, which are reported as being manageable in the follow up letters.

Our family has contacted and emailed his nurse and consultant about the devastating effects of his behaviours on him and ourselves, and eventually they did admit him as an in patient for 5 days in February and reduced his ropinirole (Dopamine agonist) and sastravi doses. He has now stopped taking ropinirole but things are as bad as ever. He drives off for hours on end, frequently needing to be rescued as he can’t drive back. He’s continued to visit sex workers during lock down, despite needing to self isolate. He’s totally distraught by his actions and wants them to stop. He’s talked about suicide because he can’t see how to take back control. Every time I contact his medics they phone him and he denies that it is an issue. He is frightened that the medics will remove all his treatments and that he will be left totally incapacitated.

The drugs are responsible for this level of distress and anxiety. He feels he has lost our respect and love. We can’t help him overcome this and his medical team accept his assurances that everything is okay. He is on a waiting list for a duodopa pump/DBS assessment. Does anyone know if this is a better form of drug delivery which might alleviate his side effects?

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Hi @JoyP,

I’m truly sorry to hear about the distress your husband is currently going through and what has occurred as a result of his condition declining, I’m sure this must be really tough for you and your family to witness.

In light of the information you’ve shared, it sounds like your husband has struggled to find the right medication to help manage his condition especially as it has progressively gotten worse over time. Therefore, I’d strongly advise that you contact our confidential helpline and speak to one of our trained advisers about this so they can provide you with information on the duodopa pump. They have incredibly knowledge on all Parkinson’s related medication and will be able to offer you a lot of help and support on this. Please give us a call on 0808 800 0303 Monday-Friday: 9am-7pm, Saturday: 10am-2pm (Closed Sundays/bank holidays).

Given that you haven’t received any advice from any of our members as yet, you may want to take a look at someother threads on the duodopa pump to gain some idea of what other people’s experience has been with it. Also, It sounds like your husband may be experiencing impulsive and compulsive behaviour as a side effect to the medication he was taking which may have led to hypersexuality which, unfortunately, isn’t uncommon among people with Parkinson’s.

I have listed a few threads below which has information about the duodopa pump and impulsive and compulsive behaviours from members of the community who have had experience with both:

I hope you find this information useful.

Best wishes,

Hello. I am sorry for the delay replying. I have been away. I am so deeply sorry to hear about your experience. It sounds so familiar. The judge said my father should be sentenced to 15 years but as he acknowledged that the medication had an impact on my fathers behaviour, he gave him a reduced sentence of 8 years. This was a very conflicting message. Surely if the judge acknowledged the impact of the medication then he would understand that he shouldn’t be sentenced at all!! There seems to be no defence in law for medication induced ICDs.

Please tell me how you intend to clear his name? I too am keen to expose this. It’s such a cruel path that they have had to take.

Hello. I am so sorry to hear about your horrific experience. My father was commenced on Duodopa which gave him his mobility back (And it was like having our dad back!) however, it was at this point that his eyes were opened to the catastrophic thoughts and behaviours. He promptly went to the police station and confessed everything. They had no choice but to take action. 18 months of court cases and a decision was finally made to sentence him to 8 years. The outcome was shocking and devastating. So I’m sorry that my story does not bring hope. However, Duodopa did give him more independence For a few years and took away the ICDs. However he has noted recently that the ICD side effects are creeping back in again. The symptoms and the titration of the Duodopa are not well managed while he is in prison so It is difficult to support him from afar. We are now just waiting for him to come home next year.

Requip is a bad one, you have to watch £30,000 I spent with this and kept telling specialist I was having trouble shopping online wouldn’t listen to me I had to get my doctor to write to him twice then we got a specialist nurse, then I changed specialist and he changed my medication.

I was diagnosed over over 3 years ago with young onset, probably had it 10 years. I’ve still not taken any of the meds prescribed to me, ICD is one of the main reasons.

There have been dozens of cases in the last year of people with Parkinson’s being dragged before the courts, there was one featured in the Mail Online last week. The courts show no understanding whatsoever of the effect of Parkinsons meds and how they affect people. It’s down to Parkinsons UK to start educating the Judiciary.

As a relatively young man with Parkinsons, I have no intention whatsoever of taking the meds!