The results of a recently-released study featured on DrugWatch.com indicated a link between amphetamine use and Parkinson's disease.
The study analyzed data from 66,348 participants, who were followed for almost 40 years. Upon their enrollment into the study, participants were asked whether they had taken weight loss drugs. They were also specifically asked whether they had taken the amphetamines Benzedrine or Dexedrine.
Based on the results of the study, researchers determined that patients who had taken the amphetamines developed Parkinson's disease at a higher rate when compared against those who had admitted to taking weight-loss drugs but did not take Benzedrine or Dexedrine.
Amphetamines are usually prescribed for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy; it is also sometimes prescribed for obesity. They regulate the release and absorption of dopamine, a chemical messenger that is present in low levels among those who suffer from Parkinson's disease.
Parkinson's disease, on the other hand, is a chronic neurological illness characterized by a progressive loss of movement control. It is the second most prevalent neurological illness in the United States, after Alzheimer's disease. Actor Michael J. Fox and boxer Muhammad Ali are among the famous people who are dealing with Parkinson's disease; the late Pope John Paul II also suffered from Parkinson's.
The results of the study, however, were only able to suggest an association between use of prescription amphetamines and the development of Parkinson's disease, as opposed to a causal relationship. An assessment of the exact link between the two factors can only be done through further research.