Harvard Mental Health Letter

In Brief: Anti-inflammatory drugs may not protect cognitive function

In Brief

Anti-inflammatory drugs may not protect cognitive function

Although earlier observational studies suggested that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) might lower the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, a large randomized clinical trial of two such drugs has failed to show any protective effects in a high-risk group.

The Alzheimer's Disease Anti-Inflammatory Prevention Trial (ADAPT) involved 2,117 people ages 70 or older who had a family history of Alzheimer's. Beginning in March 2001, 617 participants took 200 milligrams (mg) of celecoxib (Celebrex) twice daily, 596 took 220 mg of naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn, others) twice daily, and 904 took a placebo. Medications were stopped in December 2004 after a different study found that celecoxib increased the risk of cardiovascular disease.

For each year the ADAPT study was still active, participants took seven tests to assess cognitive function, the results of which were then compiled to produce a global summary score. Participants took a final battery of tests six months after the study treatments ended.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »