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Schildkraut JM, Moorman PG, Halabj S, Calingaert B, Marks JR, Berchuck A. Analgesic drug use and risk of ovarian cancer. Epidemiology. 2006; 17(1):104-107.


Common painkillers may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, according to this population-based study. Still, researchers say they are a long way from recommending these drugs for the sole purpose of preventing ovarian cancer. In the study, women who used any nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, in the preceding 5 years were 28% less likely to develop ovarian cancer than nonusers. Aspirin proved to reduce risk the most-37%. The study involved 586 women with ovarian cancer and 627 controls who were surveyed about painkiller use during the preceding 5 years. Women who regularly used painkillers for at least 3 months were classified as users, while all other women were considered nonusers. The authors noted that while the present findings support an inverse association between analgesic use and ovarian cancer risk, this study by no means closes the book on the topic. Further research from epidemiologic studies and clinical trials is needed to confirm the link and to clarify various issues, such as the optimal agent as well as the appropriate dose and duration of use needed to see a benefit.