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Blood pill cuts Parkinson’s risk

7th February 2008

A common drug used to treat high blood pressure could also reduce people’s risk of Parkinson’s disease, according to a new study.

Long-term use of calcium beta blockers to treat hypertension appeared to lower the risk of the degenerative disease by almost a quarter compared to those who did not take the drug.

The researchers studied 7,374 men and women aged over 40. Half the group had Parkinson’s disease while the other half did not.

Among both groups nearly half used high blood pressure medications such as calcium beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, AT II antagonists and beta blockers.

Those who were currently long-term users of calcium channel blockers to treat high blood pressure appeared to lower their risk of Parkinson’s disease by 23 per cent compared to those who were not.

A similar effect was not observed among people taking ACE inhibitors, AT II antagonists and beta blockers.

Study author Dr Christoph Meier at the University Hospital Basel in Switzerland said more research is needed to determine why calcium beta blockers appear to protect against Parkinson’s disease and why the other high blood pressure drugs do not offer a reduced risk.

The study is published in the online issue of the journal Neurology.

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