Use of an older class of Type 2 diabetes drugs called glitazones (also known as thiazolidinediones or TZDs) is linked to a 22% reduced risk of dementia, reveals a a research study published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.
Because Type 2 diabetes and dementia share some of the same physiological patterns, researchers have started to look at whether diabetes drugs might also help stave off or treat dementia. Drawing on the health records of 559,106 people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, the researchers compared dementia risk in older people with Type 2 diabetes and treated with either a sulfonylurea or a thiazolidinedione (TZD) with those treated with metformin alone. After at least 1 year of drug treatment, use of a TZD alone was found to be associated with a 22% lower risk of dementia from any cause, compared with the use of metformin alone. Specifically, it was found to be associated with an 11% lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease and a 57% lower risk of vascular dementia.
These drugs may effectively prevent dementia in patients at high risk with mild or moderate Type 2 diabetes, and may now be worth prioritising in future clinical studies to see if they can be repurposed, suggest the researchers.
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