Impulse control disorders following deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus in Parkinson's disease: clinical aspects

Parkinsons Dis. 2011 Feb 20;2011:658415. doi: 10.4061/2011/658415.


Parkinson's disease (PD) has been associated with the development of impulse control disorders (ICDs), possibly due to overstimulation of the mesolimbic system by dopaminergic medication. Preliminary reports have suggested that deep brain stimulation (DBS), a neurosurgical procedure offered to patients with treatment-resistant PD, affects ICD in a twofold way. Firstly, DBS allows a decrease in dopaminergic medication and hence causes an improvement in ICDs. Secondly, some studies have proposed that specific ICDs may develop after DBS. This paper addresses the effects of DBS on ICDs in patients with PD. A literature search identified four original studies examining a total of 182 patients for ICDs and nine case reports of 39 patients that underwent DBS and developed ICDs at some point. Data analysis from the original studies did not identify a significant difference in ICDs between patients receiving dopaminergic medication and patients on DBS, whilst the case reports showed that 56% of patients undergoing DBS had poor outcome with regards to ICDs. We discuss these ambivalent findings in the light of proposed pathogenetic mechanisms. Longitudinal, prospective studies with larger number of patients are required in order to fully understand the role of DBS on ICDs in patients with PD.