|ALZHEIMER'S AND PAINKILLERS|
July 2007 Archives of Neurology
Results from a large government experiment show that two common painkillers don't prevent Alzheimer's disease or slow mental decline in older people. New analysis shows that Celebrex (COX-2 inhibitor) and Aleve showed no benefit on thinking skills. Earlier results from the same research showed the two drugs didn't prevent Alzheimer's.
The experiment was halted several years earlier in 2004 when heart attacks turned up in separate studies on Celebrex and other COX-2 inhibitors. Researchers also had noticed more heart attacks and strokes in the people taking Aleve in the Alzheimer's prevention study.
The halted study included more than 2,000 people ages 70 and older with a family history of Alzheimer's but no thinking problems themselves. People were randomly assigned to take standard daily doses of either Celebrex, Aleve, also known as naproxen, or a placebo. Some of the researchers had previously received money from Pfizer, the maker of Celebrex. Which may explain why the researchers designed this study to look for benefit from Celebrex
For up to three years, participants took a battery of tests. In one, they named as many grocery items as they could in one minute. All three groups scored about the same at the start. But over time, the Aleve takers scored on average slightly lower than the people who took placebos. The Celebrex takers also scored slightly lower than the placebo takers. So there is absolutely no reason to take these drugs to prevent Alzheimer's. Both products now carry warnings about heart risks and serious gastrointestinal bleeding.
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