Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Alzheimer's Disease Health Center

Font Size

NSAIDs for Alzheimer's? Never Mind

Clinical Trial: No Better Mental Function With Naproxen, Celebrex
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

May 12, 2008 -- Remember all those studies suggesting NSAID painkillers cut Alzheimer's risk? Forget about it.

Despite accumulating circumstantial evidence that people who take NSAID drugs have a lower risk of Alzheimer's disease, a clinical trial shows neither naproxen nor Celebrex preserves mental function.

NSAIDs -- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs -- include ibuprofen (brands include Advil and Motrin), naproxen (brands include Aleve), and Celebrex. Studies that compare people with Alzheimer's disease to people who don't have Alzheimer's disease often (but not always) find that those without Alzheimer's are more likely to be long-term NSAID users.

Just this month, one such study suggested that ibuprofen might cut Alzheimer's risk.

But researchers always warn that only clinical trials can show whether a drug really helps. Now such a trial shows that taking naproxen or Celebrex for up to four years doesn't slow age-related decline in mental function. In fact, the study offers weak evidence that naproxen may very slightly decrease mental function.

"For now, we suggest that naproxen and [Celebrex] should not be used for the prevention of Alzheimer's disease," conclude Johns Hopkins researcher Barbara K. Martin, PhD, and fellow members of the Alzheimer's Disease Anti-Inflammatory Prevention Trial (ADAPT) research group.

Martin and colleagues note that naproxen and Celebrex are not among the NSAIDs that fight Alzheimer's-like plaque in mouse studies. Ibuprofen does -- and ibuprofen is more commonly used than other NSAIDs.

But as Boston University researcher Steven Vlad, MD, told WebMD earlier this week, "I would not advise patients to start taking an NSAID to prevent Alzheimer's. There are too many known risks associated with this class of medications, and we would need a lot more research to figure out the risk-benefit ratio."

Martin and colleagues report their findings in the May 12 issue of Archives of Neurology.

Today on WebMD

Remember your finger
When it’s more than just forgetfulness.
senior man with serious expression
Which kinds are treatable?
senior man
Common symptoms to look for.
mri scan of human brain
Can drinking red wine reverse the disease?
eating blueberries
Colored mri of brain
Close up of elderly couple holding hands
mature woman
Woman comforting ailing mother
Senior woman with serious expression