ST. PAUL, Minn. - Different types of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin, appear to be equally effective in lowering the risk of Alzheimer's disease, according to the largest study of its kind published in the May 28, 2008, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Experts have debated whether a certain group of NSAIDs that includes ibuprofen may be more beneficial than another group that includes naproxen and aspirin.
Using information from six different studies, researchers examined data on NSAID use in 13,499 people without dementia. Over the course of these six studies, 820 participants developed Alzheimer's disease.
Researchers found that people who used NSAIDs had 23 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease compared to those who never used NSAIDs. The risk reduction did not appear to depend upon the type of NSAID taken.
"This is an interesting finding because it seems to challenge a current theory that the NSAID group which includes ibuprofen may work better in reducing a person's risk of Alzheimer's," said study author Peter P. Zandi, PhD, with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, MD. "The NSAID group that includes ibuprofen was thought to target a certain type of plaque in the brain found in Alzheimer's patients. But our results suggest there may be other reasons why these drugs may reduce the risk of Alzheimer's."
The study's lead author Chris Szekely, PhD, with Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, says the discrepancy between studies such as this one and the negative clinical trials of NSAIDs in treatment or prevention of Alzheimer's need to be further explored.
Data used in the study were collected with support from the National Institutes of Health and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 21,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as stroke, Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, and multiple sclerosis.
For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit www.aan.com.