While earlier studies suggested a protective benefit from Alzheimer’s with use of the over-the-counter pain medication naproxen and prescription pain reliever celecoxib (celebrex), a new study fails to find a relationship.
The study, published in the in the online edition of Neurology®, involved a clinical trial conducted at six dementia research clinics across the United States. More than 2,100 people over age 70 with no signs of dementia, but a family history of Alzheimer’s disease were studied.
Participants were randomly assigned daily doses of naproxen, celecoxib, or placebo for up to four years, but most participants had received the treatments for less than two years.
Prior studies were observational in format; that is, a study design that identifes relationships or correlations that suggest further evaluation to determine if a cause and effect relationship is apparent.
The new study found neither treatment was associated with a reduction in Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
“Although our study was conducted to test the hypothesis that celecoxib or naproxen would reduce the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease, these results indicate no such effect, at least within the first few years after treatment begins,” said study author Constantine Lyketsos, MD, MHS.
The findings appear to be inconsistent with other studies suggesting reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease among people who take NSAIDs over a long period of time.
“One possible explanation for this inconsistency is that our findings relate specifically to celecoxib and naproxen, but not to other commonly used NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen. Or the drugs may not prevent the progression of disease in people who have advanced Alzheimer’s pathology without symptoms – the very people most likely to develop symptoms within a year or two,” said study author John C. S. Breitner, MD.
“While long-term follow-up of our study’s participants is essential, for now we suggest celecoxib and naproxen not be taken to primarily prevent Alzheimer’s disease,” urged Lyketsos.
Source: American Academy of Neurology