ZocdocAnswersCan ibuprofen prevent Alzheimer's disease?

Question

Can ibuprofen prevent Alzheimer's disease?

I read somewhere that taking one ibuprofen a day was actually a good preventive tool for keeping Alzheimer's at bay. Is this true? I'm 64 years old - is it too late for me to start?

Answer

I applaud your proactive approach to keeping up with the latest in medical research. Before starting on any self administered treatments, please make sure that you consult with your primary care physician. There have been some recent retrospective studies that showed that people that took a class of medicines called the NSAIDS (which ibuprofen is a member of) had a lower rate of Alzheimer's disease. Retrospective studies are good at identifying associations, but they usually do not provide enough hard evidence for physicians to derive recommendations. So while this association is interesting, the vast majority of doctors would never place you on ibuprofen for this reason unless you had an extremely significant family history of the disease. Ibuprofen may have its beneficial effects. But if taken over the long term it may cause kidney failure and put you at higher risk for bleeding stomach ulcers. Thus, this type of preventative treatment, even if it pans out to be effective, would not be recommended in everyone. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. You can discuss these recent studies and discuss the pros and cons of taking ibuprofen at your age and with any other health conditions you may have. Good luck.

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