Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Alzheimer's disease drugs linked to reduced risk of heart attacks

Date:
June 5, 2013
Source:
European Society of Cardiology (ESC)
Summary:
Drugs that are used for treating Alzheimer’s disease in its early stages are linked to a reduced risk of heart attacks and death, according to a large study of over 7,000 people with Alzheimer’s disease in Sweden.

Drugs that are used for treating Alzheimer's disease in its early stages are linked to a reduced risk of heart attacks and death, according to a large study of over 7,000 people with Alzheimer's disease in Sweden.

The research, which is published online June 5 in the European Heart Journal, looked at cholinesterase inhibitors (ChEIs), such as donepezil, rivastigmine and galantamine, which are used for treating mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease [1]. Side-effects of ChEIs include a beneficial effect on the vagus nerve, which controls the rate at which the heart beats, and some experimental studies have suggested that ChEIs could also have anti-inflammatory properties.

Professor Peter Nordström, of Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden, and colleagues followed 7073 people with Alzheimer's disease, who were on the Swedish Dementia Registry from May 2007 to December 2010. They found that those who were on ChEIs had a 36% reduced risk of death from any cause, a 38% reduced risk of a myocardial infarction (heart attack) and a 26% reduced risk of death from cardiovascular causes such as stroke compared to people not taking ChEIs. These results included adjustments for various confounding factors such as age, sex, whether the diagnosis was for Alzheimer's dementia or Alzheimer's mixed dementia (where more than one type of dementia occur simultaneously), level of care, and medical history including medications for other conditions.

Prof Nordström said: "If you translate these reductions in risk into absolute figures, it means that for every 100,000 people with Alzheimer's disease, there would be 180 fewer heart attacks -- 295 as opposed to 475 -- and 1125 fewer deaths from all causes -- 2000 versus 3125 -- every year among those taking ChEIs compared to those not using them."

Patients taking the highest recommended doses of ChEIs had the lowest risk of heart attack or death: 65% and 46% lower respectively compared with those who had never used ChEIs.

The researchers also checked whether the reduction in risk applied only to the use of ChEIs or was seen in other drug treatments for dementia. Memantine is a drug indicated for use in moderate to advanced Alzheimer's disease and works in a different way to ChEIs [2]. The researchers found it made no difference to the risk of heart attack or death from any cause.

Prof Nordström said: "As far as we know, this is the first time that the use of ChEIs has been linked to a reduced risk of heart attacks and deaths from cardiovascular disease in general or from any cause. As this is an observational study, we cannot say that ChEI use is causing the reduction in risk, only that it is associated with a reduction. However, the strengths of the associations make them very interesting from the clinical point of view, although no clinical recommendations should be made on the basis of the results from our study. It would be of great value if a meta-analysis of previous, randomised controlled trials could be performed, as this might produce answers on which clinical recommendations could be based."

As the study was based on a nationwide group of patients, Prof Nordström said it should be possible to extrapolate the findings to other countries.

[1] Donepezil, rivastigmine and galantamine are also known by the trade names Aricept, Exelon and Reminyl respectively.

[2] Memantine is known by the trade name Ebixa.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Society of Cardiology (ESC). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. P. Nordstrom, D. Religa, A. Wimo, B. Winblad, M. Eriksdotter. The use of cholinesterase inhibitors and the risk of myocardial infarction and death: a nationwide cohort study in subjects with Alzheimer's disease. European Heart Journal, 2013; DOI: 10.1093/eurheartj/eht182

Cite This Page:

European Society of Cardiology (ESC). "Alzheimer's disease drugs linked to reduced risk of heart attacks." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130605090257.htm>.
European Society of Cardiology (ESC). (2013, June 5). Alzheimer's disease drugs linked to reduced risk of heart attacks. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130605090257.htm
European Society of Cardiology (ESC). "Alzheimer's disease drugs linked to reduced risk of heart attacks." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130605090257.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) — The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) — Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) — America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) — A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:  

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile iPhone Android Web
          Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins