Taking ibuprofen just two or three times a week could reduce the risk of developing Parkinson's disease by a third, scientists have found.
Researchers discovered that adults who regularly take the painkiller are significantly less likely to go on to develop the debilitating condition.
They believe that the findings could lead to new treatments for the disease that currently has no cure and robs sufferers of the ability to carry out even the most basic tasks.
The scientists behind the study said that it was too early to recommend the drug as the long term effect of taking it were not yet known.
Professor Alberto Ascherio, of Harvard University, who worked on the ground breaking study, said: "There is no cure for Parkinson's disease, so the possibility that ibuprofen, an existing and relatively non-toxic drug, could help protect against the disease is captivating."
The disease of the nervous system robs sufferers of the ability to walk and even eat, causes long motionless periods known as "freezing" as well as head and limb tremors.
The scientists studied data from nearly 99,000 women and 37,000 men who had enrolled in a health study.
Six years later they found 291 had developed Parkinson's and analysed and compared all of their subjects use of ibuprofen, aspirin and other anti-inflammatory pain relieving drugs.
They then adjusted the findings to take into account variables such as age, smoking, diet and caffeine consumption.
The results showed that taking ibuprofen two or three times a week reduced the chances of contracting the disease by 38pc.
After a larger analysis that combined several other studies on ibuprofen and other drug use, the researchers found that ibuprofen users had a 27pc lower risk of developing the disease compared to non-users.
The exact mechanism by which it works is not known but it is believed ibuprofen may reduce inflammation in the brain and protect brain cells from death caused by the disease.
High profile sufferers include the former world boxing champion Muhammad Ali and the actor Michael J Fox.
The research was published in the journal Neurology.