Study: Amphetamine use could pose Parkinson's disease risk

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Use of amphetamines could increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease, according to a new study.

The study, supported by Kaiser Permanente and scheduled for presentation at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting in Honolulu this April, found that people who have used such drugs as GlaxoSmithKline’s Benzedrine (amphetamine sulfate) and Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine sulfate) have an increased risk of developing the disease. The drugs often are prescribed for patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy.

The study included 66,348 people in northern California who had participated in the Multiphasic Checkup Cohort Exam between 1964 and 1973 and were evaluated again in 1995. More than 1,100 patients had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s by the end of the study.

The researchers found that people who had reported using Benzedrine or Dexedrine were almost 60% more likely to develop Parkinson’s than those who didn’t take them, though there was no increased risk found for those people who had 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,” study author Stephen Van Den Eeden of Kaiser Permanente’s division of research said.

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