1142 GMT April 07, 2020
The strongest associations were found for broad spectrum antibiotics and those that act against anaerobic bacteria and fungi. The timing of antibiotic exposure also seemed to matter, news-medical.net reported.
The study suggests that excessive use of certain antibiotics can predispose to Parkinson's disease with a delay of up to 10 to 15 years. This connection may be explained by their disruptive effects on the gut microbial ecosystem.
In the gut, pathological changes typical of Parkinson's disease have been observed up to 20 years before diagnosis. Constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease have been associated with a higher risk of developing Parkinson's disease. Exposure to antibiotics has been shown to cause changes in the gut microbiome and their use is associated with an increased risk of several diseases, such as psychiatric disorders and Crohn's disease. However, these diseases or increased susceptibility to infection do not explain the now observed relationship between antibiotics and Parkinson's.
"The discovery may also have implications for antibiotic prescribing practices in the future. In addition to the problem of antibiotic resistance, antimicrobial prescribing should also take into account their potentially long-lasting effects on the gut microbiome and the development of certain diseases," said Scheperjans.
The possible association of antibiotic exposure with Parkinson's disease was investigated in a case-control study using data extracted from national registries in the US. The study compared antibiotic exposure during the years 1998-2014 in 13,976 Parkinson's disease patients and compared it with 40,697 non-affected persons matched for the age, sex and place of residence.
Antibiotic exposure was examined over three different time periods: 1-5, 5-10, and 10-15 years prior to the index date, based on oral antibiotic purchase data. Exposure was classified based on number of purchased courses. Exposure was also examined by classifying antibiotics according to their chemical structure, antimicrobial spectrum, and mechanism of action.