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NSAIDs Protect Against Parkinson's Disease

Over-the-counter pain meds reduced risk by as much as 60%, researchers say

MONDAY, Nov. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Taking over-the-counter pain medicines called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may reduce the risk of Parkinson's disease, according to a study by researchers at the UCLA School of Public Health in Los Angeles.

The study included 579 men and women (half with Parkinson's disease) who were asked if they'd taken aspirin or non-aspirin NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen) once a week or more for at least a month at any time in their lives.

Those who took two or more pills (either aspirin or a non-aspirin NSAID) a week for at least a month were classified as regular users, while those who took fewer pills were non-regular users.

Compared to non-users and non-regular users, regular users of non-aspirin NSAIDs reduced their risk of Parkinson's by as much as 60 percent, the study found. Women who were regular users of aspirin reduced their risk of Parkinson's by 40 percent, especially those who were regular users of aspirin for more than two years.

The study is published in the Nov. 6 issue of Neurology.

"Our findings suggest NSAIDs are protective against Parkinson's disease, with a particularly strong protective effect among users of non-aspirin NSAIDs, especially those who reported two or more years of use," co-author Angelika D. Wahner said in a prepared statement. "Interestingly, aspirin only benefited women. It may be that men are taking lower doses of aspirin for heart problems, while women may be using higher doses for arthritis or headaches."

"Given our results and the growing burden of Parkinson's disease as people age, there's a pressing need for further studies explaining why these drugs may play a protective role," she said.

More information

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-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Academy of Neurology, news release, Nov. 5, 2007

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