Medical Professionals Online

Blood Pressure Drugs May Prevent Alzheimer's Disease

June 02, 2017

If you are taking some of the commonly used hypertension (high blood pressure) drugs you might also be significantly lowering you chances of developing Alzheimer's disease and cognitive decline, according to a new study.

You can read about this study in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, November issue.

The study, carried out by scientists at the Mount Sinai Medical Center, indicates that numerous elderly patients who are currently taking anti-hypertensive medications may enjoy additional benefits from their medicines.

Dr. Giulio Maria Pasinetti, Mount Sinai Medical Center, said "If we can deliver certain anti-hypertensive drugs to patients at high risk to develop Alzheimer's disease, at doses that do not affect blood pressure, these drugs could be made available for all members of the geriatric population identified as being at high risk for developing Alzheimer's disease."

Dr. Pasinetti and team have spent the last twenty-four months examining over one thousand drugs to see whether they might have any benefits for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Out of 55 candidate drugs which are prescribed for hypertension, the team has detected 7 promising ones. They found that these drugs are able to prevent the production of beta-amyloid, which causes Alzheimer's disease.

Experiments on mice which were genetically modified to develop Alzheimer's showed that they benefited significantly when given Valsartan, an anti-hypertensive agent. When these mice were given very low doses of Valsartan the production of beta-amyloid was prevented. The following drugs also had a similar effect - Propranolol HCI, Carvedilol, Losartan, Nicardipine HCI, Amiloride HCI and Hydralazine HCI.

The researchers believe this study could lead the way to developing new methods of treating Alzheimer's disease and cognitive deterioration in general.

The team says further studies are needed on humans to see whether these anti-hypertensive agents might have the same effect they had on mice.

Dr. Pasinetti said "The use of these drugs for their potential anti-Alzheimer's disease role is still highly experimental, and at this stage we have no clinical data beyond phenomenological observation in humans. We need to complete preventive and therapeutic clinical trials in the near future if we are to identify certain anti-hypertensive drugs with anti beta-amyloid antioligomeric activities, which will need to be prescribed at dosages that do not interfere with blood pressure in normotensive Alzheimer's disease patients."

"Valsartan lowers brain β-amyloid protein levels and improves spatial learning in a mouse model of Alzheimer disease"
Jun Wang, Lap Ho, Linghong Chen, Zhong Zhao, Wei Zhao, Xianjuan Qian, Nelson Humala, Ilana Seror, Sadie Bartholomew, Clive Rosendorff and Giulio Maria Pasinetti
J. Clin. Invest. doi:10.1172/JCI31547.
Click here to view Abstract online