Alert
Close

Last chance – give now. Before 2014 ends, help struggling seniors. Donate

AARP The Magazine

Surprising Good Side Effects of Your Meds

New research finds some common drugs can help prevent cancer, improve heart health and even enhance creativity

The Drug: Aspirin to prevent heart attacks

Potential Perk: Stronger odds of colon and prostate cancer survival

The Evidence: For men diagnosed with prostate cancer, a daily dose of aspirin was associated with a 57 percent lower risk of death at 10 years, compared with those not taking aspirin, reported the Journal of Clinical Oncology in 2012. In another study in the New England Journal of Medicine, colon cancer survivors whose cancer had a specific type of mutation and who regularly took aspirin had much lower cancer-related mortality rates (3 percent after five years, compared with 26 percent of those who weren't taking aspirin). Researchers speculate that aspirin may activate a protein that inhibits cancer cell growth.

The Drug: Antidepressant paroxetine (Paxil)

Potential Perk: Lower risk of heart failure

The Evidence: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) work by balancing out the serotonin in the brain to improve mood. One SSRI, Paxil, may also guard against heart problems by inhibiting the function of GRK2, an enzyme that's overproduced during heart failure, according to research published in the journal ACS Chemical Biology last year. Researchers have just begun to examine the connection, though results are promising, says study coauthor John Tesmer, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Other SSRIs don't seem to make a difference.

Visit the AARP home page every day for great deals and for tips on keeping healthy and sharp

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

VIDEO EXTRA

'PROSTATE MAN': He travels from town to town in hopes of saving minority men from prostate cancer.

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

your
Health

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

AARP membership discount Man trying on eyeglasses at optometrists smiling

Members save up to 60% on eye exams and 30% on glasses at LensCrafters.

Grandson (8-9) whispering to grandfather, close-up

Members can save 20% on hearing aids with the AARP® Hearing Care Program provided by HearUSA.

member benefits adt companion

Members save on new installation of a ADT Companion Service® personal emergency response system.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Most Popular
Articles

Viewed

featured
groups

Social Security

How to strengthen Social Security for future generations. Discuss

Medicare & Insurance

Share health coverage information and experiences common to being age 50+. Join

Health Nuts

Share heart-smart recipes, fitness tips and stress relievers. Join