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"Pain medications may ward off Parkinson's"


Source: CTV.CA

Published: 05 Nov 2021

Category: Pharmaceutical

Rating: (2½ stars)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

Taking over-the-counter pain medicines such as ibuprofen or aspirin may reduce the risk of developing Parkinson's disease, finds a new study published in Neurology.
Ibuprofen and aspirin belong to a class of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The study found that those who regularly took NSAIDs reduced their risk of Parkinson's by as much as 60 per cent.
The study involved 579 men and women, half of whom had Parkinson's disease. The participants were asked if they had taken aspirin or a non-aspirin NSAIDs once a week or more at any point in their life for at least a month....

The original article can be found at:

The original article can found in the Media Doctor archives.

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 5 of 10
Availability of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Not Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Evidence Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Not Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

Studying patients who have taken an NSAID "once a week or more at any point in their life for at least a month" means studying an extremely diverse group. The range of possibilities is enormous (e.g., taking the NSAID 50 years ago and taking the NSAID last month; taking the NSAID for a month and taking the NSAID for 20 years). Far more details about usage needs to be reported for the reader to understand these results. Also, the total lack of acknowledgment that NSAIDs are extremely irritating to the stomach is a major oversight. Those who fear getting Parkinson's Disease may be propelled into taking NSAIDs without weighing this thin beneficial evidence with the well documented gastro-intestinal dangers of taking NSAIDs.

Since this evidence cited comes from a case-control study, a weak type of design it should be described with appropriate caveats. Case-control studies are one of the reasons why millions of women were taking long-term hormone replacement therapy to ward off cardiovascular disease. Until better evidence comes along just file this story under "interesting but unproven".

public forum

(10 Jun 2022) 3+speckled from writes,

"Just discovered your site through the PLOS article. I posted a comment on this very article. My comment was that although the article was very poor, it did, in fact, rather closely approximate the press release from the American Academy of Neurology. It was the press release that was unbelievably poor, coming from a medical source. Can we expect journalists to fill in the critical missing info that medical associations neglect?"

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