Blood Pressure Medicine And Alzheimer's: Do You Know Your ARBs From Your ACEs?

This is an ad for a blood pressure medication, not one for an erectile dysfunction drug.  Lowering one's blood pressure can help to reduce the risk of heart attack during sexual activity, but what  about lowering one's risk of dementia?  Researchers from Boston University looked into this relationship. 

The study followed up on more than 800,000 mostly male patients over 65, whose files were made available through the US Veteran's Affairs database.  They compared patients taking angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) to control their blood pressure with those taking angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEs).  They also compared those taking both kinds of medication with patients taking other kinds of cardiovascular drugs.

Though the findings are empirical and skewed to male patients, they do beg for some solid double-blind research.  The findings showed that after four years...

  • Patients on ARBs were 20 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer's than those taking ACE inhibitors and 25 percent less likely than those taking other drugs.
  • Patients who took both ARBs and ACE inhibitors were 55 percent less likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.
  • Among those who had Alzheimer's disease at the beginning of the study, those on ARBs were half as likely to end up in nursing homes than their peers taking ACEs or other cardiovascular medication.
  • And the Alzheimer's patients that were taking both ARBs and ACEs were 67 percent less likely to to go to a nursing home than patients taking ACE inhibitors alone.
Pretty convincing.