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January 18th, 2010
Blood Pressure Drugs May Reduce Risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Angiotensin receptor blockers, prescription drugs commonly used to treat high blood pressure and heart disease, may help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, new research is suggesting.

The study also demonstrated that angiotensin receptor blockers appear to provide a higher level of protection against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in comparison to other high blood pressure and heart disease medication. This research is the first large scale study on whether angiotensin receptor blockers can reduce the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Dementia, which includes Alzheimer’s disease, continues to threaten a growing number of people as they age. The disease can also cause huge economic problems due to the long periods of time patients with the disease must spend in nursing homes.

While dementia and Alzheimer’s disease remain to be complex diseases, researchers have found increasing evidence for three main risk factors: age, genetics and heart disease. In particular, mid-life diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure appear to be related to a higher chance of developing dementia.

Professor Benjamin Wolozin from Boston University School of Medicine, the researcher leading the study, and colleagues analyzed the incidence of dementia in over 800,000 mostly male (98%) subjects in America from 2002 to 2006. Each participant had cardiovascular disease and was over the age of 65 years old. One group of patients used angiotensin receptor blockers, a second group used lisinopril, a drug that helps lower blood pressure, and a third used other comparative drugs generally used for heart disease.

Results show that the group using angiotensin receptor blockers were considerably less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Angiotensin receptor blockers also have an additive effect while used with another type of high blood pressure drug (ACE inhibitors). Patients who were already diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia were less likely to die early or enter nursing homes while taking both prescription medicines.

This research is important to continue because it is the “first to compare both risk of dementia and progression of dementia in users of angiotensin receptor blockers compared with users of a drug from the same class (lisinopril) or users of other drugs prescribed for cardiovascular disease” says Wolozin.

Finding an effective way of preventing dementia is one of the top priorities for public health. However, further study is needed to validate the effectiveness of antihypertensives in general and angiotensin receptor blockers in particular, researchers conclude.

For more information on Alzheimer’s disease or dementia related prescription drugs, visit www.orderonlinedrugs.com


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