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Anti-inflammatory drugs may reduce Parkinson's risk, studies find

September 01, 2003|Dianne Partie Lange

Researchers have suspected that inflammation is involved in Parkinson's disease, and now they've found that regular use of such inflammation-squelching drugs as ibuprofen, indomethacin, naproxen and diflunisa may reduce the risk.

Two large groups participating in continuing studies -- the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and the Nurses' Health Study -- answered questionnaires about their health habits and histories every two years. Their responses included information about regular use of aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, also called NSAIDs. Over the course of 14 to 18 years, 415 of the 143,000 men and women developed Parkinson's disease, which causes progressive loss of movement.

Compared with nonusers, men and women who regularly took non-aspirin NSAIDs had a 45% lower risk of developing Parkinson's than those who didn't. A similar risk reduction was found among those who took two or more aspirin a day.

The lead author, Dr. Honglei Chen, an instructor at Harvard University's School of Public Health, does not suggest that people take NSAIDs to prevent Parkinson's disease.

The type of drugs and the dosage must be determined and, he cautions, NSAIDs have side effects.

The study was published in the August issue of the Archives of Neurology.


Dianne Partie Lange

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