The dementia risk reduction also showed an upward trend as the drug was used for a longer duration. Those who used the drug for four years had a 37% lower likelihood of developing dementia compared to those who did not use it, whereas individuals who used it for one to two years had a 22% lower likelihood.
Individuals with diabetes are twice as likely to have dementia compared to those without the condition.
Recent research found that persons with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes who used the diabetic medicine pioglitazone had a lower risk of dementia in the future than those who did not take the drug.
The findings were published in the online edition of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, today.
People who had a history of stroke or ischemic heart disease, a disorder characterized by restricted arteries in the heart, had the best outcomes.
The results of the research do not provide conclusive evidence that taking the medication may lower a diabetic patient’s chance of developing dementia. Only an association is shown.
“Since dementia develops for years before diagnosis,” points out study author Eosu Kim, “there may be an opportunity for intervening before it progresses.
The findings of the study “may suggest that we could use a personalized approach to preventing dementia in people with diabetes in the case that they have a history of ischemic heart disease or stroke.”
Researchers examined the Korean national health database to identify individuals who were newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and did not have dementia. The participants were tracked for an average of 10 years. Out of the 91,218 individuals who met the criteria, 3,467 of them were prescribed pioglitazone for treatment.
Dementia occurred in 8.3% of study participants who were taking pioglitazone vs 10.0% of those who weren’t.
After controlling for other variables that may increase dementia risk, such as high blood pressure, smoking, and physical activity, researchers discovered that individuals taking pioglitazone had a 16% lower chance of developing the condition than those who did not.
People who had a history of ischemic heart disease or a stroke benefited more, with reduced risks of 54% and 43%, respectively.
As participants took the medicine for extended periods of time, the lowered risk also rose. When compared to those who did not take the medication, those who took it for four years had a 37% lower risk of dementia, while those who took it for one to two years had a 22% lower risk.
During the study, people who took the drug were also less likely to have a stroke.
Swelling, weight gain, bone loss, and congestive heart failure are just a few of the side effects of pioglitazone, according to Kim, who also noted that more research is required to determine the drug’s long-term safety and whether there is a best dosage that would minimize side effects while maintaining benefits.
“These results provide valuable information on who could potentially benefit from pioglitazone use for prevention of dementia,” Kim adds. “In some previous studies of people with dementia or at risk of cognitive decline who did not have diabetes, pioglitazone did not show any protection against dementia, so it’s likely that a critical factor affecting the effectiveness is the presence of diabetes. More research is needed to confirm these findings.”
Due to the study’s reliance on insurance claims for prescription information, there is a chance that some participants did not take their medications exactly as prescribed.
The National Research Foundation of Korea and the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare provided funding for the research.
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