Author(s): Garwood ER, Bekele W, McCulloch CE, Christine CW
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Since the 1930's, amphetamine drugs have been used therapeutically and recreationally. High doses are associated with acute injury to axon terminals of dopaminergic neurons. It is unknown whether low dose exposure to amphetamine over a prolonged time period is associated with the development of Parkinson's disease (PD). METHODS: A telephone survey of drug and chemical exposure was administered to patients from three faculty practice clinics at UCSF. Patients were asked to participate if they had been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy (PN), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or PD between the ages of 40 and 64. Spouses or caregivers were also asked to participate. "Amphetamine exposure" was defined as a prior use of amphetamine, methamphetamine or dextroamphetamine. "Prolonged exposure" was defined as amphetamine use that occurred more than twice a week for > or =3 months or weekly usage for > or =1 year and had to occur before diagnosis of the neurological condition. RESULTS: Prolonged exposure to either prescribed or non-prescribed amphetamine was common, occurring in 15\% with PN (11/76), 13\% with ALS (9/72), and 11\% with PD (17/158). Prolonged amphetamine exposure was more frequent in diseased patients compared to spouses when all diseases were combined (adjusted OR=3.15, 95\% CI 1.42-7.00, p=0.005). When tested alone, only the Parkinson's disease group retained statistical significance (adjusted OR=8.04, 95\% CI 1.56-41.4, p=0.013). For most individuals, exposure occurred long before diagnosis (averages: PN 25 years, ALS 28 years, and PD 27 years). CONCLUSIONS: The elevated rate of prolonged amphetamine exposure in PD is intriguing and bears further investigation.
This article was published in Neurotoxicology
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy