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Can ibuprofen dampen the fire of Parkinson's? UAB doc says it makes sense

Posted Mar 02 2011 6:50pm

Can ibuprofen help relieve Parkinson's disease?

A new study seems to suggest that may be case.

UAB's Dr. David Standaert, a Parkinson's expert, says it might make biological sense that the anti-inflammatory drug would work. He told MedPage Today and ABC News that in Parkinson's, inflammation "does not start the fire, but it is responsible for keeping it burning."

"One of the issues our laboratory has been working on for the last couple of years is the idea that inflammation may be one of the primary drivers of PD," says Standaert. The idea we are working on is that the initial "trigger" for PD is related to factors such as abnormal proteins in the brain, oxidative stress and other factors – but once the injury to the brain starts, it is neuroinflammation which is responsible for the progression." Standaert says all the studies looking at ibuprofen and Parkinson's are retrospective and not randomized. He says this is an important consideration; patients were already taking ibuprofen for some reason, arthritis, for example. "Perhaps the connection here is not between ibuprofen and Parkinson's, but rather between arthritis and PD. You can only answer this by a prospective study, where people are randomized to receive ibuprofen or not."

Standaert does not recommend that patients with Parkinson's start on long-term use of ibuprofen based on the current studies. There is a risk of kidney damage and stomach ulcers associated with continued use of ibuprofen. But it's an intriguing idea, and worthy of more study.

The study, by Harvard researcher Xiang Gao , was published in Neurology .

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