Heavy use of NSAIDs 'could delay' Alzheimer's disease

NSAIDs may delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease, rather than reducing the risk of it developing, a US study suggests.

Researchers followed 2,736 men and women aged over 65 for 12 years, recording their use of NSAIDs and whether or not they developed dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

A total of 458 participants were heavy users of NSAIDs, defined as those taking more than 500 standard daily doses over two years.

Such heavy use of NSAIDs was associated with a 66 per cent increased risk of developing dementia and a 57 per cent increased risk of Alzheimer's disease, the researchers found.

Previous studies have suggested that the incidence of Alzheimer's disease is lower among NSAID users. The two findings could be explained by the fact that NSAIDs delay the onset of Alzheimer's, the authors of the latest study suggest.

'It is conjectured that most risk factors act by accelerating or retarding dementia onset,' the researchers said.

'If NSAID exposure defers the onset of Alzheimer's disease, then exposed members of younger cohorts would logically show a reduced frequency of disease, but NSAID users in older cohorts could be enriched for cases that would otherwise have appeared earlier,' they said.

tom.moberly@haymarket.com

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