Arthritis Drugs Linked to Reducing Dementia Risk

  • By Graeme Brown
  • Feb 20, 2018

Dementia is a condition that impacts on the lives of millions of people across the globe. Not only does it affect those that are diagnosed with this debilitating condition, it also impacts on their families and those who care for them. For this reason, scientists have spent years researching possible ways to reduce the risk of people developing the disease and trying to find drugs that can successfully treat the symptoms. It is now believed that scientists are one step closer to achieving this as they have found a link between reducing the risk of developing dementia and a drug that is already in use to treat another condition.

University of Southampton scientists have collaborated with University of Oxford researchers to look further into the possibility that drugs for arthritis that are already in use could also potentially reduce the risk of developing dementia. The study involved two groups of people; one group that was receiving the drug treatment for arthritis and another group who were not receiving this treatment. Their findings showed that fewer people in the group taking the arthritis medication developed dementia after taking the drug for five years than those who did not receive any treatment for arthritis. The scientists and researchers have published the finding of their study in the scientific journal ‘Alzheimer’s & Dementia’.

In response to the journal, Dr. Sara Imarisio, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s UK, spoke on behalf of the charity. She said that there is an increasing amount of evidence that suggests that inflammation plays a key role in diseases such as Alzheimer’s, one of the types of dementia. It is this evidence that has led researchers to investigate whether medications used to treat inflammatory diseases can also benefit those with dementia or even reduce the risk of developing this condition. She went on to say that the scientists conducting the research were highly experienced and that they had studied a large number of people using good quality data. 

However, Dr. Sara Imarisio also pointed out that although the findings are interesting, there is still the possibility that other factors may have influenced the results of the study. Therefore, it is not possible at this stage to declare that they have found a way to prevent dementia. The only way they will learn if this drug really makes a difference is to conduct comprehensive clinical trials.

This is not the first time that anti-inflammatory drugs have been researched in relation to dementia. In the past, there have been several studies conducted to find a link between anti-inflammatory medications and treating Alzheimer’s. However, the previous studies have shown little or no benefits for those with dementia.

Dr. Imasario has also urged people not to start taking anti-inflammatory medications unless prescribed by a doctor or a qualified healthcare practitioner. Her concern is that people will read these findings and begin to take their own preventative measures.

This latest research could make a significant contribution to finding ways to reduce the risk of developing dementia and may even shape the focus of future research. However, this is just one small step in the monumental battle researchers and scientists face in finding ways to prevent dementia. There is still a long way to go before they will find a cure for those who are diagnosed with this condition.

If this is a topic that interests you or knowledge of dementia is important in your work, then take a look at our range of courses relating to dementia on our website.


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