Using amphetamines may increase risk of Parkinson's disease

Feb 20, 2011

New research shows people who have used amphetamines such as benzedrine and dexedrine appear to be at an increased risk of developing Parkinson's disease, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 63rd Annual Meeting in Honolulu April 9 to April 16, 2011.

Benzedrine and Dexedrine are often prescribed to increase wakefulness and focus for people with and narcolepsy, a disorder that can cause and sudden attacks of sleep. They are also used to treat traumatic brain injuries.

The study involved 66,348 people in northern California who had participated in the Multiphasic Health Checkup Cohort Exam between 1964 and 1973 and were evaluated again in 1995. The average age of the participants at the start of the study was 36 years old. Of the participants, 1,154 people had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease by the end of the study.

Exposure to amphetamines was determined by two questions: one on the use of drugs for weight loss and a second question on whether people often used Benzedrine or Dexedrine. Amphetamines were among the drugs commonly used for weight loss when this information was collected.

According to the study, those people who reported using Benzedrine or Dexedrine were nearly 60 percent more likely to develop Parkinson's than those people who didn't take the drugs. There was no increased risk found for those people who used drugs for weight loss.

"If further studies confirm these findings, the potential risk of developing Parkinson's disease from these types of amphetamines would need to be considered by doctors before prescribing these drugs as well as be incorporated into amphetamine abuse programs, including illicit use," said study author Stephen K. Van Den Eeden, PhD, with the Division of Research at Kaiser Permanente Northern California in Oakland, Calif.

Van Den Eeden explained that amphetamines affect the release and uptake of dopamine, the key neurotransmitter involved in Parkinson's disease. He explained that more research needs to be completed to confirm the association and learn more about possible mechanisms.

Explore further: Study will test promising treatment to forestall kidney disease among diabetics

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Family history of melanoma linked to Parkinson's disease

Feb 16, 2009

People with a family history of melanoma may have a greater risk of developing Parkinson's disease, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 61st Annual Meeting in ...

An ibuprofen a day could keep Parkinson's disease away

Feb 17, 2010

New research shows people who regularly take ibuprofen may reduce their risk of developing Parkinson's disease, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 62nd Annual ...

Researchers discover link between Parkinson's and narcolepsy

May 11, 2007

Parkinson's disease is well-known for its progression of motor disorders: stiffness, slowness, tremors, difficulties walking and talking. Less well known is that Parkinson's shares other symptoms with narcolepsy, a sleep ...

Eating berries may lower risk of Parkinson's

Feb 14, 2011

New research shows men and women who regularly eat berries may have a lower risk of developing Parkinson's disease, while men may also further lower their risk by regularly eating apples, oranges and other sources rich in ...

Recommended for you

Asthma drug may help those with chronic hives

11 hours ago

(HealthDay)—A drug already used to treat moderate-to-severe allergic asthma appears to offer relief to people with chronic hives who haven't been helped by standard medications, new research suggests.

Study compares deep vein thrombosis therapies (Update)

13 hours ago

Patients who have a clot in their legs and are considering whether to be treated with traditional blood-thinning medication or undergo a minimally-invasive catheter-based clot removal procedure should feel comfortable that ...

User comments : 0