UK researchers have suggested existing drugs for conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes could have potential benefits for people with Alzheimer’s. The review paper is published on Wednesday 31 October 2012 in the journal Nature Reviews Drug Discovery.
The researchers carried out a review of existing evidence for a range of different drugs used to treat a number of different conditions. Based on the available evidence, the team identified several drugs for conditions including hypertension, diabetes and skin conditions, which they believe may have potential to fight Alzheimer’s disease.
Lab experiments from previous studies have suggested that some of these drugs may be capable of reducing a protein called amyloid, which accumulates in the brain during Alzheimer’s, while other studies have shown some of the treatments had a positive effect on cognition in mice. The researchers suggested a number of steps that could be taken to investigate these drugs further – such as carrying out early clinical trials to investigate their benefits in patients with Alzheimer’s.
Rebecca Wood, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“The idea that drugs for other conditions could also fight Alzheimer’s is appealing, as drugs already licensed for use in people could potentially be made available far sooner – but it’s not yet clear that such a drug exists. Alzheimer’s is a complex disease with many risk factors and it may prove difficult to unpick how existing drugs for other conditions could affect the disease. Large clinical trials would be needed to discover whether any of the drugs highlighted in this review could have benefits for people with Alzheimer’s.
“While Alzheimer’s Research UK is funding a number of studies investigating the potential of existing drugs, efforts to develop treatments specifically designed to alter the course of the disease must also continue. Research to understand the causes of Alzheimer’s, which currently affects half a million people in the UK, is vital if we are to find a way to stop the disease in its tracks.”