Relation of prescription nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug use to cognitive function among community-dwelling elderly

Joseph T. Hanlon, Kenneth E. Schmader, Lawrence R. Landerman, Ronnie D. Horner, Gerda G. Fillenbaum, Carl F. Pieper, William E. Wall, Michael J. Koronkowski, Harvey Jay Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


To evaluate the relationship of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID) use to level of cognitive function in community-dwelling elderly persons. METHODS: The prospective cohort study included 2765 nonproxy subjects from the Duke University Established Populations for Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly who were cognitively intact at baseline (1986-1987) and alive at follow-up three year later. Cognitive function was assessed by the Short Portable Mental Status Questionnaire (i.e., intact vs. impaired and change in score) and by the individual domains of the Orientation-Memory- Concentration Test (i.e., number of errors). NSAID use, determined from in- home interviews, was coded for chronicity, dose, frequency of rise, and prescription status. RESULTS: After controlling for demographic factors as well as health status and behavior, continuous, regularly-scheduled, prescription use of NSAID was associated with preservation of one aspect of cognitive functioning: concentration (beta coefficient, 0.29; 95% confidence interval [CI] -0.54 to -0.04, indicating fewer errors). However, no consistent dose-response relationship was found. Current and prior NSAID use was unrelated to level of cognitive functioning across all five measures; among current users, those taking moderate or high doses (beta coefficient, 0.41; 95% CI, 0.08 to 0.74) made more errors on the memory test compared with those taking low doses (beta coefficient 0.03; 95% CI, -.85 to 0.91). CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest no substantial or consistent protective effect of prescription NSAID use on cognitive function in community-dwelling elderly. However, recent use at higher doses may be associated with memory deterioration in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-94
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Epidemiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Nonsteroidal
  • aged
  • antiinflammatory agents
  • cognition
  • cohort studies
  • memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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