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cDMARD Arthritis Drug Shows Strong Effect Halving Dementia Risk

Armen Hareyan's picture
Man living with dementia

Rheumatoid arthritis drugs have been shown to be a promising new treatment option for people with dementia, in a new study by the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Center.


Researchers from the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Center found that certain drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis could also help patients with dementia. The physicians published their findings in the journal Alzheimer's And Dementia: Translational Research And Clinical Interventions.

What is rheumatoid arthritis?

Experts saw that patients with rheumatoid arthritis who use anti-inflammatory drugs are only half as likely to develop Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term disease that causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints. The disease usually affects the inner layer (membrana synovialis) of joints, tendon sheaths, and bursa. There is currently no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but some medications can at least help alleviate the pain and reduce inflammation and damage in the joints, say doctors. Here are 5 recipes that will help ease the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis drugs protect against heart disease

Since inflammation is a characteristic feature of many other conditions, including dementia, drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis that reduce inflammation, may also be beneficial to patients with other conditions, the authors explain. This result has already been observed in the treatment of patients with heart disease, where the initial outcomes in large-scale clinical trials are currently being investigated.

cDMARDs protect against dementia

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In the current study, the researchers noted that anti-rheumatic drugs (cDMARDs), especially methotrexate, appear to protect against dementia.

In the current study, researchers noted that anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), especially methotrexate, appear to protect from the onset of dementia. For the study, the physicians analyzed anonymous data from the medical records of more than 5,800 people with rheumatoid arthritis in the UK. They compared 3,876 DMARDs-taking patients with 1,938 patients who did not take the medication. The experts found that the group taking anti-inflammatory medication had about half the risk of developing dementia. The research was conducted under the direction of Professor Chris Edwards of the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Center.

Potential New Dementia Treatment, but Further Research Is Needed

This discovery shows that so-called cDMARDs represent a potential new dementia treatment. The research supports investigations in further clinical trials, so it can be determined whether or not these medications can really be used for the prevention or treatment of dementia.

Improved treatment for dementia in sight?

"Although drugs are available that can temporarily reduce some symptoms or slow down the progression of Alzheimer's disease, there is currently no cure for the disease," study author Professor Chris Edwards explains in a news release from the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Center. The current study shows a positive correlation between patients who take medicines for arthritis and the risk of developing dementia. The risk may be reduced by up to 50 percent, the expert adds. This could lead to an improved treatment of the neurological disease.

Speaking of improving the lives of people who live with Dementia: Meet Hogeweyk, the town inhabited exclusively by Alzheimer's patients.

If you are an Alzheimer's caregiver, please let us know in the comments section below, what are the 3 most positive aspects of caring for a loved one.