Dementia drugs could reduce heart attack risk

5 June 2013

Medication used to treat Alzheimer’s and dementia may have unexpected benefits, including reduced risk of heart attack.  Scientists from Umea University say dementia drugs including donepezil (or Aricept), rivastigmine, and galantamine, could cut patients’ risk of heart attack by as much as 38 per cent. Higher dosages of these cholinesterase inhibitors (ChEIs) offer more protection.

Experts suggest ChEIs may act as anti-inflammatories, and could help regulate heart rate.

Patients on a strict regimen of ChEIs have a 36 per cent reduced risk of death due to cardiovascular disease, a 38 per cent reduced risk of heart attack and a 26 per cent reduced risk of death from severe heart problems like strokes.

In conclusion, Maureen Talbot of the British Heart Foundation said: “The link between this particular Alzheimer's medication and heart health is interesting, but by no means definitive. We don't know if the medication itself caused the drop in heart attack risk or if another factor was involved. This is the first study to link an Alzheimer's medication to reduced risk of heart attacks so we need to see much more research before we can draw any conclusions.”

To reduce your risk for heart complications, get fit, lose weight and stop smoking. Consider a cardiac catheterisation to assess your heart’s performance and overall condition.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

Health News is provided by Adfero in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Adfero Ltd. and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

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