Using amphetamines 'ups risk of Parkinson's disease'

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Washington, Feb 21 (ANI): A new study has shown that use of amphetamines such as benzedrine and dexedrine may increase the risk of developing Parkinson's disease.

The two are often prescribed to increase wakefulness and focus for people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy as well as to treat traumatic brain injuries.

Scientists at the Division of Research at Kaiser Permanente Northern California in Oakland, California, studied 66,348 people in northern California. Of the participants, 1,154 people had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease by the end of the study.

Results showed that 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.

"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.

Van Den Eeden explained that amphetamines affect the release and uptake of dopamine, the key neurotransmitter involved in Parkinson's disease.

He added that more research needs to be completed to confirm the association and learn more about possible mechanisms.

The study will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 63rd Annual Meeting in Honolulu April 9 to April 16, 2011. (ANI)

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