Blood pressure drugs and dementia

A large new study has found that taking various blood pressure-lowering drugs could lower the risk of dementia among older adults.

The University of Leipzig study was based on data from the Disease Analyser database (IQVIA), which compiles drug prescriptions, diagnoses, and basic medical and demographic data obtained directly and in anonymous format from computer systems used by general practitioners and specialists in Germany.

The study included patients with documented blood pressure values and an initial diagnosis of all-cause dementia in 739 general practices in Germany between January 2013 and December 2017.

The researchers analysed data from 12,405 people, aged 60 or over, with dementia, and 12,405 people without dementia who visited a general practice in the same time period.

The researchers considered three models in their analysis of the data:

  • People who had taken antihypertensive medication at some point in their lives compared with people who had never taken antihypertensive drugs.
  • People who had followed an antihypertensive therapy for three years compared with people who had done so for under three years.
  • People who had followed such a therapy for five years compared with people who had taken antihypertensive drugs for under five years.

The team found that those who took certain antihypertensive drugs – including beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, and angiotensin II receptor blockers – seemed to have a lower risk of dementia.

“Antihypertensive therapy alone cannot guarantee that dementia will never occur,” noted study author Professor Karel Kostev.

“However, these findings highlight the importance of the prescription of antihypertensive drugs in the context of preventing hypertension-associated cognitive decline.”

The authors of the study also note: “Further studies are needed to gain a better understanding of the medications associated with a decreased risk of dementia. We plan to investigate the role of lipid-lowering drugs, antidepressants, and further medications in the future.”

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Written by Ben

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