The ibuprofen post

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Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that is used for treating pain, fever, and inflammation.

Previous preclinical research has demonstrated that ibruproen has the ability to reduce the loss of neurons in models of Parkinson’s, and epidemiological data suggests that it may lower the risk of actually developing the condition.

Recently published research points towards a specific sub-set of individuals vulnerable to Parkinson’s that ibuprofen may be particularly useful for: LRRK2-genetic variant carriers.

In today’s post, we will discuss the origins of ibruprofen, review some of the previous research indicating neuroprotective properties, and do a deep dive into the new LRRK2 data.

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Source: BBC

This story starts in 1953.

And it begins with two chemists – Stewart Adams and John Nicholson (Stewart is the chap in the banner photo at the top of this post holding the container of pills) – who were both working for Boots, a health/beauty retailer and pharmacy chain in the UK.

Source: Boots

Stewart and John were on a mission: To produce a new drug for rheumatoid arthritis.

You see, in 1953 there were only two drugs available for treating inflammatory pain: a corticosteroid drug and high dose aspirin. And neither of them was ideal. The chemists started their quest by looking for the activity of variations of aspirin, hoping to find a powerful alternative.

Adams (left) & Nicholson (middle). Source: Boots

Their search was not easy – it took 16 years and they screened over 20,000 molecules – but output of that effort was a drug called ibuprofen (sold under ‘Brufen’).

Legend has it that Adams initially tested the drug on himself as treatment for a particularly bad hangover (Source).

Ibuprofen was launched on the 3rd February 1969 as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis in the United Kingdom, and it was introduced in the United States in 1974. It went on to become one of the most prescribed drugs in history and it is still widely used. In fact in 2015, Boots UK sold an average of one pack of ibuprofen every 2.92 seconds and, across all UK retailers, the sales figures for the medicine reached over £150 million.

This is all very interesting, but what does it have to do with Parkinson’s?

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