BP drugs could reduce risk of Parkinson's by a quarter

Calcium channel blockers could protect against Parkinson's.

Calcium channel blockers may be able to reduce the risk of Parkinson's disease by almost a quarter, Swiss research has suggested.

But other BP medications such as ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers have no effect on the development of the disease.

For the study, the researchers performed a retrospective analysis using data on 7,374 patients, over the age of 40, taken from the UK general practice research database.

A total of 3,637 cases of Parkinson's disease were recorded between 1994 and 2005.

A control group of 3,637 healthy patients without Parkinson's were then matched to the Parkinson's group.

Among both groups, 3,000 of the patients were using anti-hypertensive drugs. Of these, 948 were using calcium channel blockers.

Analysis showed that patients taking calcium channel blockers were 23 per cent less likely to develop Parkinson's than those who did not take BP drugs.

However, no protective effect was found for ACE inhibitors, angiotensin II antagonists or beta-blockers.

Lead researcher Dr Christophe Meier, from the University Hospital Basel in Switzerland, said: 'We looked into the association between the use of calcium channel blockers and the risk of developing Parkinson's disease as previous evidence from small patient studies and animal studies showed that the drugs could have a positive effect.

'This study showed that calcium channel blockers could lower the risk of Parkinson's, but it is too premature to advise GPs to prescribe calcium blockers to Parkinson's patients.'

Further research is needed to understand the mechanism by which calcium channel blockers lower Parkinson's risk, he said.

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

Neurology Online 2008

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