Increased Alzheimer pathology in Parkinson's disease related to antimuscarinic drugs

Ann Neurol. 2003 Aug;54(2):235-8. doi: 10.1002/ana.10639.


The hypothesis that blockade of muscarinic receptors is associated with increased Alzheimer-type pathology was investigated in Parkinson's disease. Amyloid plaque densities were more than 2.5-fold higher in cases treated with antimuscarinic medication in the long term compared with untreated or short-term treated cases (p = 0.005 and 0.00005, respectively). Neurofibrillary tangle densities were also highest in chronic compared with untreated or acute-treated groups (p = 0.02 and 0.05, respectively). The findings, if replicated, have potential implications for the use of anticholinergic medication in elderly Parkinson's disease patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic / adverse effects
  • Autopsy
  • Brain / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscarinic Antagonists / adverse effects*
  • Muscarinic Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Neurofibrillary Tangles / pathology
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology*
  • Plaque, Amyloid / pathology


  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic
  • Muscarinic Antagonists