Date: 14 February 2018
New research suggests drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis could reduce the risk of dementia.
A team led by Professor Chris Edwards, from the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, and colleagues at the University of Oxford, analysed anonymous data collected from the patient records of over 5,800 people living with rheumatoid arthritis across the UK.
They compared 3,876 patients who took disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) with 1,938 patients who didn’t take the drugs, and found that those on the anti-inflammatory rheumatoid arthritis medication had approximately half the risk of developing dementia.
This discovery shows DMARDs provide a potential new dementia treatment, and supports further investigation in clinical trials to see if these drugs can be used to prevent or treat dementia.
Professor Chris Edwards said: "Although there is medication available that can temporarily reduce some symptoms or slow down the progression of Alzheimer's disease, there is currently no cure for the condition.
"This study shows a positive link between patients taking drugs to treat arthritis and reducing their risk of developing dementia - potentially by up to 50 per cent.
"The results we've seen make us optimistic that we are getting closer to better treating this neurological disease and supports further investigation in clinical trials to confirm if these drugs can be used to prevent or treat dementia."
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