Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and Alzheimer's disease: Update on recent data and their therapeutic implications

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A great number of immune and inflammatory markers have been found to be localised in the senile plaques that are hallmark lesions of Alzheimer's disease. Complement proteins, cytokines, acute phase reactants, proteoglycans, proteases and protease inhibitors, along with activated microgila and reactive astrocytes, have all been found to be closely associated with β-amyloid deposits. Moreover, several epidemiological studies and a small pilot clinical trial have reported a protective effect of prolonged anti-inflammatory drug use against Alzheimer's disease. Among the anti-inflammatory compounds, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) have been the most extensively investigated agents in both basic scientific and epidemiological studies. Although contradictory findings exist and some studies were affected by methodological biases, the vast body of evidence supports the hypothesis of a direct contribution of the inflammatory response to the neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer's disease, and suggests that long term anti-inflammatory drug treatment might delay the onset or, at least, slow the progression of the disease. Present knowledge must be expanded to develop more specific, effective and well tolerated drugs, and controlled clinical trials are required to provide conclusive evidence for a protectiveaction of NSAIDs, or any other compounds, in Alzheimer's disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-224
Number of pages18
JournalCNS Drugs
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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