Amphetamine Side Effects May Increase Risk of Parkinson’s Disease: Study

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People who use amphetamines may be at an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, according to a new research. 

A study conducted by Kaiser Permanente Northern California researchers found that those who took Benzedrine and Dexedrine were at a 60% increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. The research will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 63rd Annual Meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii, in April.

Researchers looked at more than 66,000 people in northern California who were part of a Multiphasic Health Checkup Cohort Exam that first evaluated them between 1964 and 1973, and evaluated them again in 1995. Researchers found that 1,154 of the participants had since developed Parkinson’s disease, and those who took one of the two amphetamines were 60% more likely to develop the disorder than others.

Amphetamines are commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, to promote weight loss and to treat traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Amphetamines affect the brain’s production and uptake of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter linked to Parkinson’s disease.

Researchers said that the findings, if confirmed, mean that doctors need to consider the risks of a potential link with Parkinson’s disease when prescribing the drugs and that increased risk should also be incorporated into drug abuse programs. Amphetamines are frequently abused worldwide and are typically referred to as Speed when used as an illegal recreational drug.  Researchers said more studies need to be done to establish a causal link between amphetamines and Parkinson’s disease, and how such a link works.

Parkinson’s Disease is caused by the death of dopamine-producing cells and causes severe tremors, limb rigidity and other symptoms. It is eventually fatal and about 100,000 Americans are diagnosed with the condition each year.

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1 comment

  1. Stan Reply

    Of the 66,000 people in this review, how many took amphetamines prescribed for ADHD and for how long? How many of the 66,000 were using for other purposes and for how long? Does there appear to be a minimal duration of amphetamine use/dose to increase Parkinson risk?

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