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Celebrex, Naproxen Won't Prevent Mental Decline
Date:5/12/2008

New findings suggest daily use of naproxen might even harm cognitive function

MONDAY, May 12 (HealthDay News) -- Contrary to prior studies, a new trial shows that daily use of two popular pain-relieving drugs, Celebrex and naproxen, does not prevent cognitive decline in people with a family history of Alzheimer's disease.

In fact, naproxen, which goes under the brand names Aleve and Naprosyn, may even have a deleterious effect on cognitive function, the study found.

"The drugs we studied did not seem to improve cognitive function and, if anything, there was some weak evidence for a detrimental effect," said Barbara Martin, an investigator on the trial and assistant professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Baltimore. "So we don't at this time recommend taking NSAIDs for the purpose of preventing Alzheimer's or cognitive decline."

Added Dr. John Morris, director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and a member of the medical and scientific advisory council for the Alzheimer's Association: "My strong recommendation is I would not take any drug for a hoped-for effect until it has been demonstrated to have such an effect. Drugs potentially have side effects and unless there's a documented benefit, just because it's popular, I wouldn't rush to do that."

Both Celebrex and naproxen belong to the class of pain-killing drugs known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

The study, to be published in the July issue of Archives of Neurology, was funded by the U.S. National Institute on Aging. The drug maker Pfizer provided the supply of Celebrex used in the study, plus a matching placebo, while Bayer Healthcare provided naproxen and a matching placebo.

Inflammatory processes may play a role in Alzheimer's disease and in cognitive decline in general.

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