Introduction: Impulse control disorders occur frequently in patients with Parkinson's disease. However, the frequencies have been investigated mainly in patients from secondary or tertiary care centers, and thus, the prevalence rates in general community are not known.
Objective: Our objective was to study the prevalence rates of impulse control disorders and related factors in a large, non-selected sample of Parkinson's disease patients.
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey among Parkinson's disease patients from Finnish Parkinson Association [n = 575; 365 men, 240 women, median age 64 (range 43-90) years]. Problem and pathological gambling were estimated with the South Oaks Gambling Screen, risk for impulse control disorders with the validated Questionnaire for Impulsive-Compulsive Disorders in Parkinson's Disease, and depression with the Beck Depression Inventory.
Results: The frequency of pathological gambling was 7.0%. The overall frequency of a positive screen for an impulse control disorder was 34.8%, and 12.5% of the patients screened positive for multiple disorders. Depressive symptoms were statistically the most important factor in explaining variance in impulse control disorder risk, even more than sex, age, age of disease onset, alcohol use, or medication.
Conclusions: The high proportion of patients screened positive for impulse control disorders in a non-selected sample emphasize the importance of routine screening of these disorders in Parkinson's disease. Pathological gambling prevalence in Parkinson's disease is seven times higher than in the general population in Finland. The results underline the importance of depression in impulse control disorders associated with Parkinson's disease.
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