In a nutshell
This article investigated the association between chronic (long-term) exposure to beta-blockers (BBs) with an increased risk for Parkinson’s disease (PD). The authors concluded that the chronic use of BBs is associated with an increased risk for PD.
In PD, certain nerve cells (neurons) in the brain gradually break down or die. Patients accumulate an abnormally folded protein (alpha-synuclein) in their brain. There is no known cure at the moment. However, it has been shown that the use of beta-2 agonists (drugs that relax smooth muscles) prevents the formation of the abnormally folded protein. In contrast to this, it has been shown that BBs may increase the formation of this abnormal protein. Therefore, they may increase the risk of developing PD.
BBs are drugs commonly used in patients with high blood pressure, heart failure or after a heart attack. It is important to determine if the chronic use of BBs is associated with an increased risk of PD.
Methods & findings
The study involved the medical records of 1,332,249 patients. Out of these, 145,098 received their first BB treatment between 1998 and 2004. 1,187,151 did not receive any BB treatment (control). They were followed up for a diagnosis of PD between 2005 and 2016.
Of the group that received the BB treatment, they were 1.51 times more likely to develop PD than the control group. The risk was higher with a higher dose and treatment period with BBs.
Risks of PD were also compared with the use of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (another type of medications used in heart disease) for high blood pressure. Chronic use of ACE inhibitors was not associated with an increased risk of developing PD.
The bottom line
The authors concluded that the chronic use of BBs significantly increased the risk of developing PD at a certain dose over a certain period of time.
The fine print
This study was based on medical records. Some information might be missing in these types of studies. This might affect the results.
Published By :
Clinical drug investigation
May 01, 2019
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