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Blood Pressure Drug Cuts Parkinson's?

People taking calcium channel blockers to control their high blood pressure may be less likely to develop Parkinson's disease .

But the researchers who report that news aren't ready to recommend taking calcium channel blockers to prevent Parkinson's disease.

Here's what the scientists know so far: Parkinson's disease cases appear to be rarer in people taking calcium channel blockers, but not other types of drugs for high blood pressure (hypertension).

The data came from 3,637 Parkinson's patients and an equal number of people without Parkinson's disease. All participants live in the U.K., and almost all of the Parkinson's patients -- 90% -- were diagnosed after age 60.

The researchers checked participants' prescription records and found that Parkinson's disease was almost 25% rarer in current, long-term users of calcium channel blockers.

Age and sex didn't affect the results. But the researchers -- who included Claudia Becker, PhD, of Switzerland's University Hospital Basel, couldn't adjust for other factors including level of education, socioeconomic status, and cholesterol levels.

The study appears online in Neurology.

By Miranda Hitti
Reviewed by Louise Chang
©2005-2006 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved

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