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Friday 28th October 2016

Parkinson's risk lowered with ibuprofen

8th March 2011

Research suggests that a common over-the-counter painkiller may play a role in warding off Parkinson's disease.


A recent study found that people who take ibuprofen, also known by its proprietary name, Nurofen, on a regular basis, may have a lower risk of developing Parkinson's.

There may be additional benefits to be had from the drug, which is commonly used to treat aches and pains, according to the research published in the journal Neurology.

It found that regular users of ibuprofen were less likely to develop the disease.

Reporting on a study that covered 135,000 men and women, the researchers speculates that anti-inflammatory drugs might form a buffer against Parkinson's.

But side-effects like gastrointestinal bleeding might be a barrier to recommending the drug as a preventive measure, experts said.

Kieran Breen of the charity Parkinson's UK, said inflammatory changes in the brain could be involved in the death of nerve cells which cause Parkinson's.

Ibuprofen is in a class of drugs known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS, which are known to cause worrying side-effects like gastrointestinal bleeding.

The drug was also linked recently to a slightly increased risk of heart attack and stroke, if used daily.

Ibuprofen and other NSAIDS are often prescribed as long-term treatment for painful conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.

But some experts say it is still unclear whether the benefits of these drugs outweigh the risks.

However, the findings have offered hopes of a new way to manage Parkinson's, an incurable neurological condition.

Lead researcher Professor Alberto Ascherio, of the Harvard School of Public Health, said his team was inspired by the notion that ibuprofen, which is reasonably well-tolerated, could protect against such a disease.

The study looked at men and women who used ibuprofen more than twice a week, alongside those who regularly used aspirin, acetominophen (paracetamol) or other NSAIDs.

They found that those who used ibuprofen regularly cut their risk of developing Parkinson's by more than a third.

The study was funded by the Michael J. Fox Foundation, after the actor who set up the charity after being diagnosed with the condition at a relatively young age.

Parkinson's affects around one in 500 people, and is caused by the death of nerve cells and a lack of a neurotransmitter called dopamine.

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