Telmisartan, a blood pressure-lowering medication, may help prevent or treat Alzheimer's disease (AD) in Black individuals. The corresponding study was published in Alzheimer's' and Dementia.
AD is the most common form of dementia, making up around 60-70% of dementia cases. According to Alzheimer's Association, 6.5 million Americans aged 65 and older have AD. Few medications have been approved for AD, and those that have often provide modest benefits in symptom management and do not halt or slow disease progression.
In the US, older African American adults are at a 1.5-2 fold higher risk for developing AD compared to older non-Hispanic American adults of European origin. Previous studies have also found that African American individuals are at a higher risk of high blood pressure than non-Hispanic European individuals. Meanwhile, studies show that antihypertensive medications can lower the risk of mild cognitive impairment.
In the current study, researchers analyzed health data from 5.62 million insured US individuals aged 60 and over to investigate the link between antihypertensive medications and AD.
In doing so, they noted that moderate to high use of an antihypertensive drug, telmisartan, was linked to lower incidence of AD in African Americans- but not those of non-Hispanic European descent. Telmisartan works by blocking angiotensin II, a hormone that causes blood vessels to constrict.
"Considering race-specific drug responses holds potential for drastically improving patient care," Feixiong Cheng, Ph.D., of Cleveland Clinic Genomic Medicine Institute, and corresponding author of the study, said in a press release, "Identifying these candidate drugs can also reveal more information about the disease itself through referencing the medicine's targets."
The researchers noted that their findings warrant randomized controlled trials with ethnically diverse patient cohorts. Such research, they hope, could establish causality and therapeutic outcomes for telmisartan and AD.