This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Diabetes drugs could treat Alzheimer's

Written by: | Published:

Medications used to treat hypertension, diabetes and skin conditions could double as treatments for Alzheimer's disease within 10 years, according to a study funded by Alzheimer's Society and led by King's College London.

The drugs or classes of drugs identified as potential Alzheimer's treatments by the study are high blood pressure medications from the calcium channel blockers family, which research suggests could 'substantially' reduce risk of dementia; diabetes medications exenatide and liraglutide, which stimulate the brain and have been shown to reduce the formation of plaques on the brain;

Minocycline, a tetracycline antibiotic used to treat acne; and Acitretin, a drug used to treat psoriasis which has been shown modify the way that proteins linked to dementia form.

The study also highlights the opportunity to explore available drugs for other conditions to find further new treatments for Alzheimer's disease.

Clive Ballard, director of research at Alzheimer's Society and professor of age related diseases at King's College London, said: 'Developing new drugs to treat the condition is incredibly important, but comes with a huge price tag and, for those affected by dementia, an unimaginable wait.

'This study identifies existing treatments and shows the potential to identify other similar drugs which are safe and if effective in clinical trials could be used to treat Alzheimer's disease in 10 years or less.'

Further research is needed before researchers know exactly how they could work for people with Alzheimer's. As a result people should not take these drugs for anything other than the conditions for which they are currently prescribed.

Dementia is caused by diseases of the brain and affects 800,000 people in the UK. The condition has no cure, and a number of clinical trials of targeted dementia drugs have failed.

Last month, health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced £50 million of dedicated funding to create care environments for people with dementia, which aid treatment by helping keep patients calm.

Improved designs of this kind have been shown to support dementia patients and their carers in managing the condition, by reducing agitation and confusion.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.



Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code

Read a free issue from Practice Nursing

Register to read a free issue from our sister publication, Practice Nursing.

Including articles on asthma, diabetes and more. Read your copy.


Sign up to the newsletter


Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.


Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.


Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team


Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.