Angiotensin Receptor Blockers May Help Prevent Dementia

And combined with other hypertension drugs they may slow the pace of Alzheimer's disease

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Angiotensin receptor blockers are associated with a significant reduction in the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and dementia, along with a slowing of the progression of the disease in those who already have dementia, according to a study published online Jan. 12 in BMJ.

Nien-Chen Li, of the Boston University School of Public Health, and colleagues analyzed data from the 2002 to 2006 U.S. Veterans Affairs administrative database on 819,491 participants aged 65 and above with cardiovascular disease, of whom 98 percent were male. They compared the time to incident Alzheimer's disease for three groups of patients taking angiotensin receptor blockers, lisinopril, or other cardiovascular drugs.

Alzheimer's disease and dementia were significantly less likely among those taking angiotensin receptor blockers compared to those taking the other two classes of drugs, the investigators found. When taken in combination with angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers were associated with a slower rate of decline among participants with existing Alzheimer's disease, the researchers discovered.

"The present study 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 or users of other drugs prescribed for cardiovascular disease," the authors write. "Regardless of the mechanism, our study suggests that selective blockade of the angiotensin II receptor AT1 offers important health benefits to those with cognitive decline."

Several authors of the study received funding via grants from the Retirement Research Foundation and the Casten Foundation.

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