News to use: Meth use increases risk of Parkinson’s

So, add another bolt to our behavioral change quiver…. Did you know Meth use can increase risk of Parkinson’s Disease? By itself, this might not change a patient’s behavior, but every little bit helps. And, we can never be sure what little nugget of information will make the difference for each individual patient!

Methamphetamine/amphetamine abuse and risk of Parkinson’s disease in Utah: A population-based assessment.

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2015 Jan 1;146:30-8. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2014.10.027. Epub 2014 Nov 16.

Available at Pubmed and Drug and Alcohol Dependence

Curtin K, Fleckenstein AE, Robison RJ, Crookston MJ, Smith KR, Hanson GR.


Despite widespread use of methamphetamine and other amphetamine-type stimulants (METH/AMPH), little is known about the long-term medical consequences of METH/AMPH abuse and dependence. Preclinical neurotoxicity findings raise public health concerns that these stimulants may damage dopamine neurons, resulting in dopamine-related disorders such as Parkinson’s disease (PD).


A retrospective design was used to examine statewide medical records (1996 through 2011) linked to the Utah Population Database. Individuals 30 years or older on December 31, 2011 were assigned to a METH/AMPH cohort (ICD-9-CM 304.4, 305.7, 969.7, E854.2; N=4935), a cocaine cohort (ICD-9-CM 304.2, 305.6, 968.5, E855.2; N=1867) or a population cohort unexposed to drugs or alcohol for control selection. A competing-risks, proportional hazards model was used to determine whether the METH/AMPH or cocaine cohorts were at increased risk of developing PD (ICD-9-CM 332.0) or PD/parkinsonism/essential tremor (PD/PT; ICD-9-CM 332.0, 332.1, 333.0, 333.1) compared to individually sex- and age-matched controls (5:1 control to case ratio; N=34,010).


In METH/AMPH users, we observed an increased risk of PD and PD/PT (HRPD=2.8, 95%CI 1.6-4.8, P<10(-3); HRPD/PT=3.1, 95%CI 1.9-4.9, P<10(-4)) compared to population-based controls. Conversely, cocaine users exhibited no elevated risk of PD compared to controls.


We observed a near three-fold increased risk of PD in METH/AMPH users vs. controls which confirms prior observations and supports that PD risk in users may be higher than previous estimates. A suggestion that female and male users may differ in PD susceptibility warrants further study.

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

KEYWORDS: Amphetamine; Cocaine; Dopamine; Drug abuse; Methamphetamine; Parkinson’s disease

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