Certain over-the-counter pain relievers commonly used to counter the pain and inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis also may cut the risk of getting Alzheimer's disease. In addition to their anti-inflammatory properties, the drugs seem to selectively reduce levels of a harmful protein linked to the neurodegenerative disease. The study developed from research suggesting that people taking certain NSAIDs regularly were less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease.
The study suggests that three types of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) markedly reduce production of a protein linked to the amyloid-beta plaque characteristic of Alzheimer's disease. The plaque collects in the brain and interferes with the ability of nerves to communicate with each other.
The study showed that ibuprofen, indomethacin and sulindac sulphide lowered the production of the amyloid-beta 42 (AB42) protein, which helps to form the plaque believed to cause Alzheimer's. The three drugs reduced AB42 levels nearly 80 percent in cultured cells. However, the better-known NSAIDs, such as aspirin, Celebrex and Vioxx, had no such effect.