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Calcium Channel Blockers May Decrease Parkinson's Risk

Effect small; other antihypertensive categories have no effect

THURSDAY, Feb. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Long-term use of calcium channel blockers to control blood pressure may have an added effect of slightly decreasing the risk of developing Parkinson's disease, according to research published online Feb. 6 in Neurology.

Claudia Becker, Ph.D., from the University Hospital Basel in Switzerland, and colleagues carried out a retrospective case-controlled analysis of the use of antihypertensives in 3,637 patients in the United Kingdom diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and an equal number of controls.

The researchers found the relative risk of a first-time Parkinson's disease diagnosis in a patient currently taking calcium channel blockers was reduced by 23 percent compared to non-use of medications. No appreciable change in risk was found in those taking angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin II antagonists or beta-blockers. The strongest risk reduction was seen in those with at least 30 prescriptions who were still receiving prescriptions 90 days prior to the Parkinson's diagnosis, and in those aged 80 and older.

Becker and colleagues conclude that other than for calcium channel blockers "…we found no evidence for an altered risk in any exposure group for most antihypertensive drugs."

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