Monday, February 21, 2011

Amphetamines and Parkinson's disease

People who use amphetamines could be at an increased risk of developing Parkinson's disease. Apart from their illegal use amphetamines such as Benzedrine and Dexedrine are often prescribed for people with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, as weight-loss pills and are also used to treat traumatic brain injury. Researchers from the U.S. health organisation Kaiser Permanente studied 66,348 people who were initially studied between 1964 and 1973 and re-evaluated in 1995. 1,154 people had been diagnosed with Parkinson's by the end of the study. The participants were asked about their use of amphetamines - either as weight-loss pills or in the form of Benzedrine or Dexedrine. There was no increase in risk for the people who used amphetamines for weight loss but those who took Benzadrine or Dexedrine were nearly 60% more likely to develop Parkinson's. Amphetamines are known to affect the release and uptake of dopamine, the most important neurotransmitter involved in Parkinson's disease.

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