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Hypertensive Medications Could Help Reduce Dementia Risk

November 08, 2019

Use of antihypertensive medications among individuals with high blood pressure could help to lower the risk of developing dementia, according to the results of a recent study.

The researchers conducted a meta-analysis of observational studies that collected data for dementia for at least 5 years, measured blood pressure and verified the use of antihypertensive medications, included in-person exams, and had follow-up for mortality. In total, the analysis included data from 6 studies involving 31,090 participants.

They evaluated the association between incident dementia and Alzheimer disease and the use of 5 antihypertensive drug classes.

Among the 31,090 participants, 3728 cases of dementia and 1741 Alzheimer disease diagnoses were recorded. Among those participant in the high blood pressure stratum, any use of antihypertensive medications was associated with a reduction in risk for developing dementia (hazard ratio [HR] 0.88, 95% CI 0.79–0.98) and Alzheimer disease (HR 0.84, 0.73–0.97) compared with those who did not use antihypertensive medications. No significant differences between drug classes were observed. Among participants with normal blood pressure, no association between use of antihypertensives and risk of dementia or Alzheimer disease was observed.

“Over a long period of observation, no evidence was found that a specific antihypertensive medications drug class was more effective than others in lowering risk of dementia. Among people with hypertensive levels of blood pressure, use of any antihypertensive medications with efficacy to lower blood pressure might reduce the risk for dementia. These findings suggest future clinical guidelines for hypertension management should also consider the beneficial effect of antihypertensive medications on the risk for dementia,” the researchers concluded.

—Michael Potts


Ding J, Davis-Plourde KL, Sedaghat S, Tully PJ, Wang W, Phillips C, et al. Antihypertensive medications and risk for incident dementia and Alzheimer's disease: a meta-analysis of individual participant data from prospective cohort studies [published online November 6, 2019]. Lancet Neuro

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