Adults who take painkiller Ibuprofen on a regular basis may reduce risk of Parkinson’s disease by about 38 per cent as compared to non-users,a new Harvard research suggests.
“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,” a senior author Alberto Ascherio,Professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) said.
The study conducted by Harvard scientists accounted data from nearly 99,000 women and 37,000 men of US enrolled in a health study in their six-year long research beginning in 1998.
The researchers analysed their subjects’ use of ibuprofen,aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs and found 291 cases suffering from the Parkinson disease.
Parkinson’s is a neurological disease that attacks the central nervous system of people above 50 years and creates
difficulty in walking,eating,besides freezing (long
motionless periods),head and limb tremors. The study published in the journal ‘Neurology’ claimed that the disease reduces with the increase of ibuprofen intake as compared to the other anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin.
“We observed that men and women who used ibuprofen two or more times per week were about 38 per cent less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than those who regularly used aspirin,acetaminophen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs),” HSPH research scientist Xiang Gao,who conducted the study said.
A possible explanation for the link is that ibuprofen reduces inflammation in the brain and protects its cells from death.
“Because the loss of brain cells that leads to Parkinson’s disease occurs over a decade or more,a possible explanation of our findings is that use of ibuprofen protects these cells.
The findings could pave way to new treatments for the incurable disease,Gao said.
“Our findings suggest that ibuprofen could be a potential neuroprotective agent against Parkinson’s disease,however,the exact mechanism is unknown,” he said.
However,the findings do not mean that people who already have Parkinson’s disease should begin taking ibuprofen,Ascherio added.
“Although generally perceived as safe,ibuprofen can have side effects,such as increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding,” he said.
Gao added that it was too early to recommend the drug to prevent or treat Parkinson’s as the long term effect of taking it were unknown.
The findings lay the groundwork for clinical trials to look at whether the painkiller,which costs only a few cents per pill and is available over-the-counter,might help slow Parkinson’s progression.
World boxing champion Muhammad Ali and US-Canadian actor Michael J Fox were diagnosed with Parkinson’s.