High Blood Pressure Drug 'Nilvadipine' May Cure Alzheimer's

First Posted: Dec 19, 2013 07:02 AM EST

A study is currently going on to see whether a drug that is meant to treat high blood pressure can also be used in Alzheimer's disease. If successful, it would be the first drug that lowers Alzheimer symptoms and also works at the cause of the disease.

The European study is investigating whether the drug 'nilvadipine', used to treat patients with high blood pressure, can help in treating people with Alzheimer's disease. This Swedish study is led by the Sahlgrenska Academy and Sahlgrenska University Hospital.

Nilvadipine obstructs the formation of amyloid plaques in animal brains. The drug will go on trial with 500 patients from across nine different European countries.

"Should this clinical trial be successful, nilvadipine would become the first Alzheimer's drug that not only reduces the symptoms of the disease but also acts on its causes. This could dramatically reduce Europe's costs for caring for patients with this neurodegenerative disease," says Anne Börjesson-Hanson, a researcher at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, who is leading the Swedish participation in the study.

During the trial, the patients will be treated with either nilvadipine or a placebo. The duration of the treatment is 18 months. If patients are already on medicines for Alzheimer they can continue taking the medicine. The team plans on conducting a follow up at the memory clinic at Sahlgrenska University Hospital.

The researchers will conduct repeated tests on the subjects to check whether the intake of the drug causes changes in memory and cognition. 

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