Some Hypertension Drugs May Also Treat Alzheimer’s

Recent research points to the possibility that patients being treated with hypertension drugs may also benefit from the drug’s ability to treat or even prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

"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", says Dr. Giulio Maria Pasinetti of Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Under Dr. Pasinetti’s supervision, more than 1,500 drugs used to treat other disorders have been screened for their potential in treating Alzheimer’s disease, and 7 out of 55 drugs prescribed for the treatment of hypertension have been identified as significantly preventing beta-amyloid production, which plays a key role in Alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis.

Valsartan, an anti-hypertensive agent, was found to pharmacologically prevent beta-amyloid production in the brains of test mice even when administered to Alzheimer’s disease mice at 3-4 times lower than the minimal equivalent dose prescribed for the treatment of hypertension in humans.

Other hypertension drugs with positive results included Propranol HCI, Carvedilol, Losartan, Nicardipine HCI, Amiloride HCI and Hydralazine HCI.

"The use of these drugs for their potential anti-Alzheimer’s disease role is still highly experimental," said Dr. Pasinetti, "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 antiligomeric activities, which will need to be prescribed at dosages that do not interfere with blood pressure in normotensive Alzheimer’s patients."

The research was conducted by Dr.Giulio Maria Pasinetti, MD, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Geriatrics and Adult Development , and Director of the Center of Excellence for Research in Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Alzheimer’s Disease at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and published in the November, 2007 issue of the The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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