This site is intended for health professionals only

Painkillers "may cut Parkinson's"

A new study claims that taking over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen can cut the risk of Parkinson's disease by as much as 60%.

Scientists asked 579 men and women, half of whom had Parkinson's, how often they had taken aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) painkillers during their lives.

The research in the journal Neurology found that taking non-aspirin NSAIDs on a regular basis appeared to dramatically reduce the chances of developing Parkinson's and aspirin appeared to protect women - but researchers do not yet know why.

Parkinson's is a degenerative brain disease that interferes with the control of movement, and affects about 120,000 people in the UK.

But Dr Kieran Breen, director of research and development at the Parkinson's Disease Society, said: "A large amount of evidence indicates that there are several factors involved in the development of Parkinson's.

"Inflammation occurs in the brain as a response to the injury of nerve cells. This results in the release of harmful factors which may contribute to nerve cell death.

"Recently, several lines of evidence suggest a role of inflammatory processes in Parkinson's although it is still unclear whether inflammation is a cause or rather a consequence of the loss of dopamine-producing nerve cells."


Copyright © PA Business 2007