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Impulse control behaviours (ICBs) are a range of behaviours linked by their reward-based, repetitive natures. They can be precipitated in Parkinson's disease (PD) by dopamine replacement therapy, often with detrimental consequences for patients and caregivers. While now a well-recognised non-motor feature of treated PD, much remains unknown about the influence of risk factors, pathophysiological mechanisms, vulnerability factors for specific types of behaviour and the optimal management strategies. Imaging studies have identified structural and functional changes in striatal and prefrontal brain regions, among others. Gene association studies indicate a role for genetic predisposition to PD-ICB. Clinical observational studies have identified potential modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors. Psychological studies shed light on the neurocognitive domains implicated in PD-ICBs and identify psychosocial determinants that may perpetuate the cycle of impulsive and harm-avoidance behaviours. Based on these results, a range of pharmacological and non-pharmacological management strategies have been trialled in PD-ICBs with varying success. The purpose of this review is to update clinicians on the evidence around the pathophysiology of PD-ICB. We aim to translate our findings into an interpretable biopsychosocial model that can be applied to the clinical assessment and management of individual cases of PD-ICB.

Original publication




Journal article


J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry

Publication Date





703 - 711


clinical neurology, impulse control, movement disorders, neuropsychiatry, parkinson's disease, Compulsive Behavior, Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders, Humans, Impulsive Behavior, Parkinson Disease, Risk Factors