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OTC drugs cut risk of Alzheimer's

The American Academy of Neurology has revealed that over-the-counter medicines such as ibuprofen and aspirin could prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease
The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) has revealed that over-the-counter (OTC) medicines such as ibuprofen and aspirin could prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have been shown to reduce the risk of developing the degenerative neurological condition by 23 per cent.

The study published in the AAN journal, Neurology, assessed data from six trials involving 13,499 people aged between 64 and 106, who were not suffering from the condition upon commencement. Out of all the participants being given an NSAID, only 820 eventually succumbed to Alzheimer's.

"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 Dr Peter Zandi from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

A debate is currently underway on whether one group of NSAIDs, including ibuprofen, may be more efficacious at preventing the disease than another, which contained naproxen and aspirin.

The International Ibuprofen Foundation (IIF) says that findings of a study involving patients receiving care from the US Veterans Affairs Health Care System showed that ibuprofen offered a greater risk reduction - a rate of 44 per cent - than other NSAIDs. According to the IFF, naproxen and other NSAIDs  ìdefinitely don't protect againstî Alzheimer's and called ibuprofen a good candidate for future trails.

Findings detailed in the AAN report have cast doubt on the IIF claim. Dr Chris Szekely, from the Cedars Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles and lead author of the new study, said discrepancies in the results should be explored further.

Zandi said: ìThe NSAID group, that includes ibuprofen, was thought to target a certain type of plaque in the brain found in Alzheimer's disease. But our results suggest there maybe other reasons why these drugs may reduce the risk of Alzheimer's.î

29th May 2008

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