[A version of this item appears in: Dementia: the Latest Evidence Newsletter (RWHT), Volume 2 Issue 8, March 2012].
Inflammatory processes have previously been thought to play a role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). The authors of this systematic review investigated the efficacy and side effects of aspirin, steroidal and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in the treatment of AD. They found no significant improvement in cognitive decline as a result of treatment with aspirin, steroid, traditional NSAIDs or selective COX-2 inhibitors. Patients receiving aspirin experienced more bleeds. Patients receiving steroid treatment experienced more hyperglycaemia, abnormal lab results and facial oedema. Patients taking NSAIDs were more likely to experienced nausea, vomiting, elevated creatinine (Cr), elevated liver function tests (LFT) and hypertension. There was a trend towards higher death rates among patients taking NSAIDS, and this was higher for selective COX-2 inhibitors than for traditional NSAIDs.
The authors conclude that the efficacy of aspirin, steroid and NSAIDs (traditional NSAIDs and COX-2 inhibitors) for the treatment of AD is unproven based on the studies to date, and that these drugs cannot be recommended for this use.
Jaturapatporn, D. Isaac, MG. [and] McCleery, J. [et al] (2012). Aspirin, steroidal and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (Online), February 15th 2012, Issue 2, No. CD006378. (Click here to view the PubMed abstract).