The treatment of Parkinson’s disease can create some brutal side-effects, something police, social workers and judges are well aware of.
The public, however, generally is not aware that this disease is so difficult to treat. One reason is that it is hard to explain that the drugs generally used to treat Parkinson’s can have a range of completely unpredictable effects.
One report published earlier in the United Kingdom reveals what careful technical explanations can not achieve, graphic example can.
The story does not take long to grab the attention of the reader: A British IT worker and local councilor then turned into a “sex-crazed, gambling transvestite” due to the side-effects of the Parkinson’s drug Cabergoline, a dopomine agent.
The 60-year-old Pete Shepherd had spent 400,000 pounds over seven years on cars, prostitutes, gambling and women’s and fetish clothing.
He said, “I suffered from delusions of grandeur, exhibitionism, paranoia and hallucinations and became violent and suicidal.”
The important effects worth mentioning here is that the man maxed-out 15 credit cards and even lost his wife as well as his job. He thereafter ran out of money too and tried crime – a 50,000-pound ticketing fraud through online shopping platform eBay.
Pete Shepherd was caught, arrested and charged with fraud. He was sent to court. He pleaded in front of the judge not being guilty and his lawyers claimed the medication that his client was undergoing was to blame.
This, one may think, is something a judge may have heard before, but the supporting evidence which followed was compelling. Two Professors of Neurology spoke on Shepherd’s behalf, testifying the drugs had taken over his mind making him unable to know right from wrong.
The judge accepted the evidence, telling Shepherd that responsibility for his actions had been “very substantially” reduced by the side-effects of the drug. He gave the defendant a conditional discharge.
Currently the old man is undergoing different medication for the Parkinson’s disease and sad to say that he no longer has a house or savings.
However, now he has no such compulsive desire for gambling, sex and women’s clothing as he had before, while put on earlier medication.
The charity Parkinson’s UK supports the decision. Its chief of research, Dr Kieran Breen, once said, “At least 14 per cent of people on these medications may experience problems with compulsive behaviors.”
So, it is important to first understand the effects of medication before concluding to anyone’s surprising behavior.
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