Ibuprofen may be linked to a reduced risk of neurological disorders. Image: Wikimedia Commons

A new study released in February points out a  link between ibuprofen and Parkinson’s risk. The study found that taking ibuprofen could reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease. The risks of long-term ibuprofen use, however, may not outweigh the possible benefits.

Ibuprofen and Parkinson’s link

In a long-term study published by the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston has connected non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to a reduced risk of Parkinson’s Diseases. Individuals who used ibuprofen and other NSAID drugs showed a 40 percent lower incidence of the neurological condition. It appears that the more of the painkiller individuals took, the lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease.

Risks of ibuprofen use

While it is true that the study found a correlation between ibuprofen and reduced risk of Parkinson’s, that correlation does not come without risks. Long-term ibuprofen use can cause several negative side effects, including bleeding ulcers, liver failure, high blood pressure, stroke and even heart attack. While NSAID pain relievers are generally considered safe for over-the-counter use, long-term use is not recommended. The researchers who released this study recognize the risks and do not recommend taking ibuprofen to reduce risk of Parkinson’s until further research is completed.

Using old drugs in new ways

The ibuprofen-Parkinson’s link is the latest in a trend of research leading to using old drugs for new purposes. Aspirin has long been used to reduce the risk of heart attack. Developing a new drug takes hundreds of millions of dollars before testing even begins. By using drugs with known chemical makeups, researchers are able to cut out a significant cost of research and development. The lower cost, however, means that educational institutions and government-supported researchers have to pick up the research, as pharmaceutical companies do not stand to increase their profit on relatively cheap medications.

Sources

CBS News: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20038816-10391704.html
PubMed Health: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000598/

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