Tuomas H. Mertsalmi, MD, Eero Pekkonen, MD, PhD, and Filip Scheperjans, MD, PhD
Background: Gut microbiota alterations have been found in prodromal and established Parkinson’s disease (PD). Antibiotic exposure can have long-term effects on the composition of human intestinal microbiota, but a potential connection between antibiotic exposure and risk of PD has not been studied previously.
Objective: To evaluate the impact of antibiotic exposure on the risk of PD in a nationwide, register-based, case- control study.
Methods: We identified all patients who were diagnosed with PD in Finland during the years 1998 to 2014. Information was obtained on individual purchases of orally administered antibiotics during the years 1993 to 2014. We assessed the association between prior antibiotic exposure and PD using conditional logistic regression.
Results: The study population consisted of 13,976 PD cases and 40,697 controls. The strongest connection with PD risk was found for oral exposure to macrolides and lincosamides (adjusted odds ratio up to 1.416; 95% confidence interval, 1.053–1.904). After correction for multiple comparisons, exposure to antianaerobics and tetracyclines 10 to 15 years before the index date, sulfonamides and trimethoprim 1 to 5 years before the index date, and antifungal medications 1 to 5 years before the index date were positively associated with PD risk. In post hoc analyses, further positive associations were found for broad-spectrum antibiotics.
Conclusions: Exposure to certain types of oral antibiotics seems to be associated with an elevated risk of PD with a delay that is consistent with the proposed duration of a prodromal period. The pattern of associations sup- ports the hypothesis that effects on gut microbiota could link antibiotics to PD, but further studies are needed to confirm this.