Drugs & Therapy Perspectives

, Volume 24, Issue 12, pp 15–18 | Cite as

Matching the clinical subtype of pathological gambling with specific pharmacotherapies may be beneficial

Disease Management

Pathological gambling is an increasingly prevalent and highly disabling disorder. A range of pharmacological agents may be effective in treating the serotonergic and dopaminergic dysfunction that appears to be involved in its pathophysiology. A proposed theoretical classification of pathological gamblers into clinical subtypes may allow clinicians to match therapeutic strategies to the specific needs of patients.

An increasingly prevalent disorder

Over the last several decades, the availability of legal gambling facilities has expanded considerably. This has been accompanied by an increase in the prevalence of problem and pathological gambling.[1] Pathological gambling is characterized by a persistent urge to gamble despite its adverse consequences. It is a chronic, progressive, male-dominated disorder that affects approximately 1–3.4% of the US adult population.[1]

Typically, gambling dominates the patient’s life and can lead to financial loss, loss of employment and a breakdown of...


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