Hypertension Drugs May Prevent and Treat Alzheimer’s, Study Finds

Drugs commonly used to treat hypertension, may be successful in preventing Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

In the study, researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine found that geriatric patients who are being treated for high blood pressure with hypertenstion drugs may cut their risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

The researchers studied more than 1,500 drugs currently available to treat other disorders to determine the effectiveness of the drugs in preventing Alzheimer’s. They found that of the 55 drugs studied, seven drugs used to treat hypertension were the most effective.

Researchers found that the drugs prevented beta-amyloid production, a fragment of protein in the brain that is usually eliminated but forms a kind of plaque, or blockage, in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients.

The drugs may also prevent further deterioration in those who are already afflicted with Alzheimer's, according to the study. One drug, Valsartan, was given to Alzheimer’s diseased mice, at a three or four times lower than the normal dosage for humans, and the drug still prevented further production of this blockage in the brain.

The effectiveness of hypertension drugs in preventing this blockage in the brain may help identify future treatments that can prevent cognitive deterioration and dementia in Alzheimer’s patients, according to researchers. However, studies on human patients is necessary.

"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" said Dr. Pasinetti, director of the Center of Excellence for Research in Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Alzheimer's disease at Mount Sinai. "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."