Medications that are prescribed for early-stage Alzheimer’s disease appear to reduce the risk of heart attack and early death, researchers from Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden, reported in the European Heart Journal.
Professor Peter Nordström and team examined data related to ChEls (cholinesterase inhibitors), including galantamine, rivastigmine and donepezil, all medications used for the treatment of mild-moderate Alzheimer’s disease.
Cholinesterase inhibitors raise the level of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Alzheimer’s patients and people with related conditions have lower levels of acetylcholine. Raising acetylcholine levels slows down mental decline in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Among the side effects associated with ChEIs, is a beneficial effect on the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve controls our heartbeat. The authors explained that previous studies had suggested that ChEIs might also help reduce inflammation.
The scientists followed 7,073 patients with Alzheimer’s disease from May 2007 to December 2010. Their details were stored on the Swedish Dementia Registry.
Patients on ChEIs were found to have:
• a 36% lower risk of death from any cause
• a 48% lower risk of heart attack (myocardial infarction)
• a 26% lower risk of death from stroke and other cardiovascular diseases
Courtesy: Medical News Today