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BACKGROUND: Previous studies have suggested that the use of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may help to prevent Alzheimer's disease. The results, however, are inconsistent. METHODS: We studied the association between the use of NSAIDs and Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia in a prospective, population-based cohort study of 6989 subjects 55 years of age or older who were free of dementia at base line, in 1991. To detect new cases of dementia, follow-up screening was performed in 1993 and 1994 and again in 1997 through 1999. The risk of Alzheimer's disease was estimated in relation to the use of NSAIDs as documented in pharmacy records. We defined four mutually exclusive categories of use: nonuse, short-term use (1 month or less of cumulative use), intermediate-term use (more than 1 but less than 24 months of cumulative use), and long-term use (24 months or more of cumulative use). Adjustments were made by Cox regression analysis for age, sex, education, smoking status, and the use or nonuse of salicylates, histamine Hz-receptor antagonists, antihypertensive agents, and hypoglycemic agents. RESULTS: During an average follow-up period of 6.8 years, dementia developed in 394 subjects, of whom 293 had Alzheimer's disease, 56 vascular dementia, and 45 other types of dementia. The relative risk of Alzheimer's disease was 0.95 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.70 to 1.29) in subjects with short-term use of NSAIDs, 0.83 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.62 to 1.11) in those with intermediate-term use, and 0.20 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.05 to 0.83) in those with long-term use. The risk did not vary according to age. The use of NSAIDs was not associated with a reduction in the risk of vascular dementia. CONCLUSIONS: The long-term use of NSAIDs may protect against Alzheimer's disease but not against vascular dementia.

Original publication

DOI

10.1056/nejmoa010178

Type

Journal article

Journal

The New England journal of medicine

Publication Date

11/2001

Volume

345

Pages

1515 - 1521

Addresses

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Eramus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Keywords

Humans, Dementia, Vascular, Alzheimer Disease, Salicylates, Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal, Drug Administration Schedule, Proportional Hazards Models, Risk, Cohort Studies, Prospective Studies, Aged, Middle Aged, Female, Male