But the findings are still preliminary and people should not start popping the common painkiller in hopes of warding off the progressive brain disorder, Harvard researchers say.
Parkinson's disease is caused by the loss of brain cells that control movement. Symptoms include shaking, rigidity, slow movements, and unsteadiness.
Ibuprofen is commonly marketed under the tradenames Advil and Motrin.
The findings, presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, came from data collected in a large study of nearly 150,000 men and women. The participants were tracked over eight-and-a-half years, during which time 413 developed Parkinson's disease.
Does Ibuprofen Stand Alone?
"Our findings showed that ibuprofen users were 35 percent less likely to develop Parkinson's disease than nonusers," says researcher Alberto Ascherio, MD, DrPH, associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.
Surprisingly, this benefit was only seen in patients who took ibuprofen and not those who took aspirin, other anti-inflammatory drugs, or acetaminophen, he tells WebMD.