Diabetes Drug Linked to a Decreased Risk of Dementia

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These drugs can successfully prevent dementia in high-risk individuals with mild or moderate type 2 diabetes.

According to the scientists, it could be worth prioritizing these drugs for future repurposing research.

This is the conclusion of a long-term study recently published in the open access journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care, use of the diabetes drug known as glitazones is associated with a 22% lower risk of dementia. Glitazones are often known as thiazolidinediones or TZDs for short and are an older class of type 2 diabetes drugs.

According to the researchers, these drugs can effectively prevent dementia in high-risk individuals with mild-to-moderate type 2 diabetes, and it may now be worth prioritizing them in future clinical trials to determine whether they can be repurposed. .

Researchers have begun to investigate whether diabetes medications could potentially help prevent or cure dementia, since type 2 diabetes and dementia share different physiological patterns. However, the results so far have been inconsistent.

The researchers compared the incidence of dementia in older adults with type 2 diabetes who received sulfonylurea or thiazolidinedione (TZD) with those who received metformin alone to shed more light on this.

They used data from 559,106 individuals with type 2 diabetes diagnosed in the National Veteran Affairs (VA) Health System between January 2000 and December 2019.

Only elderly patients (at least 60 years of age) who received a first prescription of metformin, a sulfonylurea (tolbutamide, glimepiride, glipizide or glyburide), or a TZD (rosiglitazone or pioglitazone) between January 2001 and December 2017 were included (559,106) . Their health was followed for an average of almost 8 years.

After at least 1 year of drug treatment, use of a TZD alone was associated with a 22% lower risk of dementia from any cause, compared to use of metformin alone.

Specifically, it was associated with an 11% lower risk of[{” attribute=””>Alzheimer’s disease and a 57% lower risk of vascular dementia. Given that vascular diseases increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, TZDs may also help to reduce dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in part through their favorable effects on the vascular system, say the researchers.

While the risk of dementia from any cause was 11% lower for the use of metformin and TZD combined, it was 12% higher for the use of a sulfonylurea drug alone, prompting the researchers to suggest that supplementing a sulfonylurea with either metformin or a TZD may partially offset these effects.

Further in-depth analysis indicated that those younger than 75 benefited more from a TZD than older patients, highlighting the importance of early prevention for dementia, note the researchers. And these drugs also seemed to be more protective in overweight or obese patients.

This is an observational study, so definitive conclusions can’t be drawn about cause and effect. And the researchers acknowledge that certain potentially influential information wasn’t available, including kidney function and genetic factors, and that study participants were predominantly male and White.

But they suggest that future studies for repurposing diabetes drugs for dementia prevention might want to consider prioritizing TZDs, based on their findings.

And they conclude: “These findings may help inform medication selection for [older] patients with [type 2 diabetes] with a high risk of dementia.”

Reference: “Oral Diabetes Medication Use and the Risk of Occasional Dementia in US Veterans Aged ≥60 Years with Type 2 Diabetes” By Xin Tang, Roberta Diaz Brinton, Zhao Chen, Leslie V. Farland, Yann Klimentidis, Raymond Migrino, Peter Reaven, Kathleen Rodgers and Jin J Zhou, October 11, 2022, BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.
DOI: 10.1136/bmjdrc-2022-002894

The study was funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute, the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.


The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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