Behind the Headlines - Can BP medicines halve Alzheimer's disease risk?

ARBs could halve the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, opening the door for treatments that delay or prevent the disease, according to newspaper reports.

Could BP medicines have a positive effect on Alzheimer's disease?
Could BP medicines have a positive effect on Alzheimer's disease?

UK researchers showed that ARBs and ACE inhibitors show a stronger association with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias than other BP drugs.

Why was this link examined?
Angiotensin signalling has been shown to be involved in the development of Alzheimer's disease.

To study this link further, Professor Patrick Kehoe and colleagues used the general practice research database to find cases of dementia in people over 60 years old. They found data on 5,797 cases of Alzheimer's disease, 2,186 of vascular dementia and 1,214 of other dementias.

Each of these cases was matched to up to four controls by age, practice and gender.

The researchers found that patients diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, vascular and other dementias had been given fewer prescriptions for ARBs and ACE inhibitors. ARBs were associated with a 53 per cent lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, while ACE inhibitors were associated with a 24 per cent lower risk.

Could this lead to treatments?
Professor Kehoe and his team said the findings 'could provide significant patient and socio-economic benefits if these data reflect a true causal effect'.

But they said further evidence from randomised trials would be needed to show whether their findings are causal or reflect some form of bias. 'Such studies should examine both secondary prevention of mild cognitive impairment to dementia as well as tertiary prevention for patients with newly diagnosed Alzheimer's disease,' they said.

Dr Simon Ridley, head of research at Alzheimer's Research UK, pointed out that high BP is already a known risk factor for dementia. 'This study highlights the potential for particular BP drugs to help with Alzheimer's disease,' he said.

'If these findings can be supported in clinical trials, this could be an important step forward.'

Informing patients
  • Case-control research suggests ARBs are linked to a halving of Alzheimer's disease risk.
  • ACE inhibitors were also associated with a 24 per cent lower risk.
  • Clinical trials will be needed to see whether BP drugs can reduce Alzheimer's risk.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Close up of hand holding sample tube with 'Omicron' handwritten on side

Government urged to 'free up' GP practices and expand steps to control Omicron

GPs have called for immediate action such as suspension of QOF to allow practices...

(Photo: Mike Kemp/Getty Images)

Coronavirus: Key guidance GPs need to know about COVID-19

GPonline provides an overview of the key guidance relating to coronavirus, including...

External wall of GP surgery with wording 'medical centre'

‘Utterly toxic’: GPs speak out over abuse and physical attacks on practice teams

GPs have condemned a rise in verbal and physical attacks on practice staff - warning...

Artist's image of a spiked virus

Javid warns of 'substantial risk' from new COVID-19 variant

The highly mutated COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529 'may pose a significant risk to public...

Desk with lettering 'LMC conference'

LMCs reject 'outdated' GMS contract and demand move to item of service payments

LMCs have voted to scrap the 'outdated and inadequate' GMS contract and to replace...

GPs at an LMC conference waving green voting cards in the air

LMCs demand ringfence on enhanced services cash and clear GP representation in ICSs

LMCs have called for a ringfence on enhanced services funding, along with a guarantee...