Parkinson's disease

David - Interview 43

Age at interview: 54
Age at diagnosis: 48

Brief outline: When David was diagnosed with PD he was put on Requip (ropinirole). When he realized that he had a problem with hypersexuality he was changed onto Mirapaxin. He then got disastrously involved in gambling. Now he no longer takes dopamine agonists and no longer experiences any compulsive tendencies.

Background: Army bakery manager, married, 2children.

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David first consulted his GP in 2003 after the worst of a series of unexplained falls. The GP suspected a cerebellar lesion which David accepted fairly calmly though when they found that the appointment with a neurologist was going to take 4 months his family clubbed together to pay for a private neurological assessment. Here, he was told he had PD, which took him by surprise as he was only 48 at the time. Looking back he realised that his symptoms had probably been developing for several years. Clumsiness brushing his teeth with his left hand, slowness passing things from one hand to another which he had had to do when working in a bread factory. He wondered if they had been precipitated by an illness five years earlier when he had had to have very high doses of antibiotics to treat an intractable urine and prostate infection.


He was started on Requip (Ropinerole) a dopamine agonist building the dose up from minute doses. He noticed after a time that he seemed to have increased libido but put t his down to the fact that he was no longer working and h ad time on his hands. But then he began to find that when he was out he had an almost permanent erection which he found uncomfortable. He mentioned this to his consultant who said that this was a known side effect of the drug that he was on.


He was changed to Mirapaxin, another Dopamine agonist, but unfortunately on this drug he experienced even more distressing side effects. He began gambling, persuading himself that he had things under control but becoming  secretive and deceitful until he reached a point where he had lost a huge sum of money. When he eventually told his consultant about this and was taken off Mirapaxin he found the urge to gamble disappeared within a few weeks.


He is now on a concoction of drugs including levodopa which he has to take regularly every two hours. He has a dosette box with an alarm so that he is never caught short.


He and his wife live with their married daughter and look after their grandchild. He is fortunate in having received a pension from the army having been in the regular army for 13 years and the TA 10 more. He is also able to claim DLA, Carers allowance and mobility allowance.


Having started out with no academic qualifications, David started adult education when he was 40 after losing his job when the factory he worked in burnt down. He completed a BSc in Psychology and neuro-psychology and now has an insatiable appetite and interest in online education.


In the early years after h is diagnosis when he was living in a small village with  no contact with  any PD sufferers he started a website aimed at sharing experiences. He gave it up eventually as it became large and expensive to maintain and he was finding it difficult to confine it to users in the UK.


He finds some of the many (mostly American) websites useful. Particularly the one at Massachusetts General.


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