Amphetamines for TBI ups the Risk of Parkinson’s Disease

Some physicians prescribe stimulant containing amphetamines like Dexedrine for people with TBI to increase their wakefulness, energy, and attentional focus. While these are all good benefits, there is a cost to chronic amphetamine use beyond addiction. According to a study released on February 22, 2011 by Stephen K. Van Den Eeden, PhD of Kaiser Permanente of Northern California, the chronic use of amphetamines increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by 60%.

The study was based on analysis of the health records of 66,348 Kaiser patients between 1964 and 1973 who were evaluated again in 1995. The participants’ average age at the start of the study was 36. In the 1960s it was common to use amphetamines for weight loss. The people in the study who used amphetamines regularly showed a 60% increased risk of developing Parkinson’s. Long term use of amphetamine interferes with the release and absorption of dopamine in the human brain. Hence TBI patients asked to take amphetamines by their physician should weigh this risk with their family and their physician.

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