People who have used amphetamines such as Benzedrine and Dexedrine appear to be at an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, according to a study released presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 63rd Annual Meeting.
Benzedrine and Dexedrine are amphetamines often prescribed to increase wakefulness and focus for people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy – a disorder that can cause excessive daytime sleepiness and sudden attacks of sleep. They are also used to treat traumatic brain injuries.
The study involved 66,348 people in northern California who had participated in the Multiphasic Health Checkup Cohort Exam between 1964 and 1973 and were evaluated again in 1995. The average age of the participants at the start of the study was 36 years-old. Of the participants, 1,154 people had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease by the end of the study.
Exposure to amphetamines was determined by two questions: one on the use of drugs for weight loss and a second question on whether people often used Benzedrine or Dexedrine. Amphetamines were among the drugs commonly used for weight loss when this information was collected.
According to the study, people who reported using Benzedrine or Dexedrine were nearly 60% more likely to develop Parkinson’s than those who didn’t take the drugs. The study revealed no increased risk for individuals who used drugs for weight loss.
“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, PhD, with the Division of Research at Kaiser Permanente Northern California in Oakland, Calif.
Dr. Van Den Eeden explained that amphetamines affect the release and uptake of dopamine, the key neurotransmitter involved in Parkinson’s disease. He said that more research needs to be completed to confirm the association and learn more about possible mechanisms.
According to a Newsweek article by Jack Shafer, “Pharmaceutical companies produced 3.5 billion legal tablets of various amphetamines in 1958, enough to supply every American with 20 standard doses (5 to 15 milligrams) a year. Those pills were potentially just as addictive and potentially just as deadly as the meth found on the street today. Less than a decade later, annual production of pharmaceutical amphetamines had climbed to 8 billion tablets, and by 1971 it topped 12 billion. These quantities far exceeded the amount needed for the then-approved medical uses of amphetamines in treatment of narcolepsy, obesity, depression, fatigue, anxiety, and hyperkinetic children.”
Terry A. Rondberg, DC, President of the World Chiropractic Alliance and developer of Bioenergy Therapy, says that such adverse side effects with today’s drugs is not only far too common, but increasing in frequency. “We have to learn that we can’t rely on drugs and surgery to prevent and resolve health issues,” he explained. “These methods usually don’t help and end up causing more problems. We need to understand that our bodies have an innate ability to get and keep us well. Sometimes, we need to give it help by correcting interference or relieving physical and emotional stress, which strengthens our natural abilities and our immune system.”
Bioenergy Therapy, which Rondberg developed after more than 40 years clinical practice in manual therapy, is specifically aimed at releasing the tension in the upper cervical spine area known as the sub-occipital triangle, which is a hub for mechano-receptors, muscle spindle cells and GTOs (Golgi tendon organs).
An advanced innovation in massage therapy, Bioenergy Therapy starts with application of vibrations applied to the sub-occipital, upper trapezius, and posterior cervical muscles. The vibratory action on these muscles causes these muscles to relax, increasing their blood supply and supply of nutrients, while releasing pain-producing metabolic waste products.
Ultimately, the brain changes the levels of pain, postural distortion, stress levels, and stiffness. By working directly on the muscles in the sub-occipital triangle region, rather than on bones in various areas of the body or spine, Bioenergy Therapy directly affects the brain, where all pain, stiffness and dysfunction, originate.
SOURCES: “Using Amphetamines May Increase Risk of Parkinson’s Disease,” press release,
American Academy of Neurology, Feb. 20, 2011
“Bioenergy Therapy,” Temecula Wellness Center.