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Prescribed Amphetamines May Up Risk of Parkinson’s Disease

Prescribed Amphetamines May Up Risk of Parkinsons Disease Emerging research suggests people who have used amphetamines such as benzedrine and dexedrine appear to be at an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Benzedrine and dexedrine are drugs often prescribed to increase wakefulness and focus for people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy, a disorder that can cause excessive daytime sleepiness 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, Ph.D.

Van Den Eeden said 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.

Source: American Academy of Neurology

Prescribed Amphetamines May Up Risk of Parkinson’s Disease

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Prescribed Amphetamines May Up Risk of Parkinson’s Disease. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 20, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2011/02/22/prescribed-amphetamines-may-up-risk-of-parkinsons-disease/23760.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
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