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Published on 23 April 2009

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Ibuprofen fails to prevent dementia


Despite previous evidence to the contrary, anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen do not prevent Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, according to a study.

Earlier research had concluded that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may prevent dementia, or reduce dementia risk.

But a new study, published in the journal Neurology, concluded that there was no protective effect from the use of anti-inflammatories in relation to dementia.

One explanation for the contradicting results is that the latest research concentrated on a much older group than had previously been studied.

Researchers looked at 2,736 people with an average age of 75 who initially showed no signs of dementia. They studied their pharmacy records over a period of 12 years and asked the participants about their use of NSAIDs.

Study author Eric Larson said: “Although we hoped to find a protective effect, there was none. Thus, for this age group, there’s no basis for taking NSAIDs to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Our study in this quite elderly population showed more risk of dementia with NSAIDs, especially when used heavily.”

Rebecca Wood, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Research Trust said: “We know that inflammation is involved in Alzheimer’s – so investigating the effects of anti-inflammatory drugs makes sense. Much more work needs to be done to find out about the causes of dementia, which will lead us to the answers we desperately need.”

Copyright Press Association 2009


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