Methamphetamine users are typically young adults, placing them at risk for significant drug-related harms. Neurological harms include stroke and Parkinson’s disease, both of which may develop prematurely in the context of methamphetamine use.
We conducted a narrative review examining the evidence first, for stroke under 45 years and second, early onset of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and parkinsonism related to methamphetamine use. We summarise epidemiological factors and common clinical features, before examining in detail the underlying pathology and causal mechanisms.
Methamphetamine use among young people (<45 years) is associated with heightened risk for haemorrhagic stroke. Compared to age-matched all-cause fatal stroke, haemorrhage secondary to aneurysmal rupture is more common among young people with methamphetamine-related stroke and is associated with significantly poorer prognosis. Aetiology is related primarily to both acute and chronic hypertension associated with methamphetamine's sympathomimetic action. Evidence from a variety of sources supports a link between methamphetamine use and increased risk for the development of PD and parkinsonism, and with their early onset in a subset of individuals. Despite this, direct evidence of degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in methamphetamine users has not been demonstrated to date.
Stroke and Parkinson’s Disease/parkinsonism are neurological harms observed prematurely in methamphetamine users.

Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.