'Pain relievers don't prevent Alzheimer's disease'

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Washington, Apr 23 (ANI): Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as the pain relievers ibuprofen and naproxen, do not prevent Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia, a new study has shown.

In fact, researchers found that the risk of developing dementia in the study's very elderly population was 66 percent higher among heavy NSAID users than among people who used little or no NSAIDs.

For the study, researchers identified 2,736 members of Group Health, an integrated healthcare delivery system, who did not have dementia when they enrolled in the study at an average age of 75.

The researchers then followed these people for 12 years to see if they developed Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia.

They checked Group Health pharmacy records for NSAIDs (tracking both prescriptions and over-the-counter use) and also asked participants about their use of NSAIDs.

Of the participants, 351 people had a history of using NSAIDs heavily at the study's start, and another 107 became heavy NSAID users during the follow-up period. Heavy use was defined as having prescriptions for NSAIDs at least 68 percent of the time in two years.

During the study, 476 people developed Alzheimer's disease or dementia. Researchers found that the risk of developing dementia among heavy NSAID users was 66 percent higher than among people with little or no NSAID use.

"NSAIDs are useful for relieving pain from conditions including arthritis. 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," said study author Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH, executive director of Group Health Center for Health Studies.

The study is published online in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. (ANI)

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