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AAN: Amphetamines Tied to Parkinson's Disease Risk

Use of benzedrine or dexedrine associated with an elevated risk of Parkinson's disease

MONDAY, Feb. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Prior use of amphetamines such as benzedrine and dexedrine appears to be associated with an increased risk of Parkinson's disease (PD), according to research released Feb. 20 to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, which will be held from April 9 to 16 in Honolulu.

Stephen K. Van Den Eeden, Ph.D., of Kaiser Permanente Northern California in Oakland, and colleagues evaluated 66,438 individuals who participated in the Multiphasic Health Checkup Cohort Exam between 1964 and 1973. Participants were asked whether they had used drugs for weight loss (drugs unspecified) and whether they used benzedrine or dexedrine often. PD was diagnosed in 1,154 individuals.

The investigators found that those who reported taking weight loss medication did not have an increased risk of PD. However, individuals who reported using benzedrine or dexedrine were at increased risk of developing PD (hazard ratio, 1.56).

"These prospective data suggest that amphetamines may increase the risk of subsequent PD. This finding should be confirmed, and if true, would need to be incorporated into amphetamine abuse programs, as well as clinical judgments in use of amphetamines," the authors write.

The study was funded by Kaiser Permanente Northern California.

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