News ArchivesRead News
Ibuprofen May Help Stave Off Parkinson's
Thursday February 18, 2010
Finding suggests need to look closer at the disease as inflammatory, expert says
Business Week - Regular use of ibuprofen, a common anti-inflammatory drug, significantly lowers the risk for developing Parkinson's disease, Harvard researchers report.
People who took three or more tablets a week showed a 40 percent lower risk than those who didn't take the common pain reliever, their study found.
Study author Dr. Xiang Gao, an instructor and epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, said the findings are important for anyone at increased risk for Parkinson's because most people with the disease eventually become severely disabled.
"There is thus a need for better preventive interventions," Gao said. "In this context, our findings regarding the potential neuroprotective effect of ibuprofen, one of the most commonly used analgesics, on Parkinson's disease may have important public health and clinical implications."
Parkinson's is a disease that affects nerve cells in the brain that control the movement of muscles. It affects an estimated 1 million people in the United States, men far more often than women. The exact cause is unknown, but experts believe it's a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Gao said that though the drug levodopa is the current standard treatment for Parkinson's, much more is needed. He is scheduled to present the findings in Toronto at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in April.
The findings came from an analysis of data on 136,474 people who did not have Parkinson's at the start of the study. In a six-year span, 293 were diagnosed with the disease. Those who took the largest doses of ibuprofen were less likely to have developed Parkinson's than were those who took smaller amounts of the drug, the study found.
No other pain reliever was found to lower the risk for Parkinson's.
Dr. Michele Tagliati, an associate professor of neurology and director of the Parkinson's Disease Center at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, described the results as somewhat surprising and said they emphasized the need for further study.
"It's intriguing [that the finding applied to] just ibuprofen and not aspirin or acetaminophen or other commonly prescribed medications for inflammation because it implies something more specific to ibuprofen that should be investigated," Tagliati said. "So it narrows the focus to a subgroup of [anti-inflammatory drugs]."
Tagliati called the study "eye-opening." Parkinson's is not considered an inflammatory disease, he said, adding: "We might be missing something. There is more work to be done."
But in the meantime, Tagliati said, he would "definitely discuss ibuprofen use" with his patients because, if it works to protect against the disease, it could very well benefit those who already have it.
He cautioned that persistent use of ibuprofen can lead to gastritis, or inflammation of the stomach lining, but said that, in comparison, "there is very little to lose when measuring its side effects against the effects of Parkinson's," which can include loss of balance, stiffness, hallucinations and dementia.
Recent NewsJan 2 - January 2, 2018 News Update
Dec 26 - December 26, 2017 News Update
Dec 19 - December 19, 2017 News Update
Dec 8 - New technique scours the genome for genes that combat disease
Dec 8 - Restless sleep may be an early sign of Parkinson's, dementia
Dec 1 - Defects in cell's 'waste disposal system' linked to Parkinson's
Dec 1 - Dual virtual reality/treadmill exercises promote brain plasticity in Parkinson's patients
Nov 17 - 'Moving Day' participant is not letting young-onset Parkinson's disease stop him
Nov 17 - Focused ultrasound shows promise for treating Parkinson's tremor
Nov 17 - New research to target air pollution as a potential trigger for Parkinson’s
Nov 17 - This device will let you feel what it's like to suffer from Parkinson's
Nov 10 - How does Parkinson's disease influence depression?
Nov 10 - House votes to repeal ObamaCare's Medicare cost-cutting board
Nov 10 - Microsoft shows off watch that quiets Parkinson's tremors
Nov 3 - Utah group battling Parkinson's disease with boxing
Nov 3 - UVA-LED STUDY EXAMINES POTENTIAL OF SOUND WAVES TO MANAGE PARKINSON’S DISEASE
Oct 27 - Herbicide's link to Parkinson's disease
Oct 27 - NTU Singapore, KAIST scientists discover new mechanism that causes Parkinsonian symptoms
Oct 27 - 70,000 Washingtonians face higher insurance costs after Trump order, officials say
Oct 18 - Brain disconnections may contribute to Parkinson's hallucinations