May 06, 2008
Ibuprofen Cuts Alzheimer's Disease Risk?

Does taking Ibuprofen cut Alzheimer's risk or does some cause of pain cut Alzheimer's risk?

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Long-term use of ibuprofen and other drugs commonly used for aches and pains was associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study published in the May 6, 2008, issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Previous studies have shown conflicting results, but this is the longest study of its kind.

For the study, researchers identified 49,349 US veterans age 55 and older who developed Alzheimer’s disease and 196,850 veterans without dementia. The study examined over five years of data and looked at the use of several non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The veterans received medical care and prescriptions through the VA Health Care system.

The study found people who specifically used ibuprofen for more than five years were more than 40 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Results also showed that the longer ibuprofen was used, the lower the risk for dementia. In addition, people who used certain types of NSAIDs for more than five years were 25 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than non-users.

While other NSAIDs such as indomethacin may also have been associated with lower risks, others such as celecoxib did not show any impact on dementia risk.

My guess is that the NSAIDs do this risk cutting. The fact that some have stronger risk reduction effects suggests the drugs themselves make the difference. Also, lots of research finds chronic inflammation increases risk of a variety of diseases of old age.

But long term NSAIDs might not reduce all cause mortality. They might increase risks of other diseases. Safer bets for Alzheimer's disease risk reduction include fruit and vegetable juices, tea, the Mediterranean Diet, fish oils, and curcumin.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2008 May 06 10:13 PM  Brain Alzheimers Disease

inquire said at May 7, 2008 11:51 AM:

Ibuprofen also blocks certain chemical pathways that produce proteins to protect the stomach which leads to non-trivial stomach and GI atrophy. They (ie. NSAIDs) should be taken on a full stomach and/or with lots of water and are not recommended for extended use. I use ibuprofen semi-regularly for knee problems, but I limit my consumption as much as possible because it leads to noticeable stomach irritation. I would imagine that the short term risk of GI problems would largely outweigh any long term benefit against Alzheimer's.

See also:

Better Ways to Target Pain
[Details the causal link between NSAIDs and GI problems]

Long-term ibuprofen use cut Alzheimer's risk: study

Which is their blog entry on the same subject, with a sub-head that reads "DOCTOR: DON'T START TAKING IBUPROFEN"

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