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Claims ibuprofen “will wipe out Alzheimer's” are misleading, says NHS Choices

Wednesday 28 March 2018

The study that prompted such an optimistic headline was in fact a small piece of research that looked at a saliva test that measures the amount of a protein called amyloid beta protein 42 (Abeta 42).

Some experts, such as the current researchers, think that having higher than average levels of Abeta 42 could be an initial warning sign of the development of Alzheimer's disease. But the test was only used on 23 people with Alzheimer's and 31 without, which isn't a large enough sample size to have any confidence in the results. Even if the test were to prove accurate, there isn't enough evidence about any preventative treatments.

The potential preventative treatment suggested by the researchers is a group of drugs known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), rather than ibuprofen specifically, as the headlines imply. This study didn't test the ability of ibuprofen for preventing or slowing down the progression of Alzheimer's disease, either. NSAIDs can cause serious side effects, such as gastrointestinal bleeding. Before they can be used in combination with a test that detects Alzheimer's disease early, well-designed clinical trials need to be conducted using larger sample sizes. Based on the limited results presented in this study, there's currently no evidence that taking ibuprofen or other NSAIDs can prevent Alzheimer's disease.

You can read the full commentary here: