Washington: Adults who regularly take ibuprofen, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), have about one-third less risk of developing Parkinson`s disease than non-users, shows a new study by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers.
"There is no cure for Parkinson`s disease, so the possibility that ibuprofen, an existing and relatively non-toxic drug, could help protect against the disease is captivating," said senior author Alberto Ascherio, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at HSPH.
In the new study, Ascherio, lead author Xiang Gao, research scientist at HSPH and associate epidemiologist in the Channing Laboratory at Brigham and Women`s Hospital, and colleagues analyzed data from nearly 99,000 women enrolled in the Brigham and Women`s Hospital-based Nurses`` Health Study and over 37,000 men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study.
The researchers identified 291 cases (156 men and 135 women) of Parkinson`s disease during their six-year follow-up study (1998-2004 in women; 2000-2006 in men). Based on questionnaires, the researchers analyzed the patients`` use of ibuprofen (e.g. Advil, Motrin, Nuprin), aspirin or aspirin-containing products, other anti-inflammatory pain relievers (e.g., Aleve, Naprosyn), and acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol). (Although not an NSAID, acetaminophen was included because it`s similarly used to treat pain.) Age, smoking, diet, caffeine, and other variables also were considered.
"We observed that men and women who used ibuprofen two or more times per week were about 38 pc less likely to develop Parkinson`s disease than those who regularly used aspirin, acetaminophen, or other NSAIDs," Gao said.
"Our findings suggest that ibuprofen could be a potential neuroprotective agent against Parkinson`s disease, however, the exact mechanism is unknown."
The study has been published online in Neurology.