Investigating the effects of commonly prescribed drugs on the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases: are there drugs already available that can be repurposed?

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Technical Summary

There is urgent need for new evidence about medications that could influence the incidence and progression of neurodegenerative diseases. One promising approach is to investigate drug repositioning, which offers a time- and cost-effective alternative to traditional drug development. A recent consensus study of dementia experts identified a short-list of individual and classes of prescribed drugs that may be repurposed as novel treatments for dementia. The short-list included compounds used to treat hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and type 2 diabetes, all of which could be classed as having 'cerebroprotective' properties and have variable levels of pre-clinical evidence that suggest they may have beneficial effects for various aspects of dementia pathology. However as yet there is limited pharmacoepidemiological data to support their effects in human populations.

Our primary aim, therefore, is to investigate whether these existing medications, previously identified as potentially cerebroprotective, could be repurposed to prevent or treat Alzheime''s disease and other types of dementia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Parkinson's disease. We will conduct an observational cohort study to investigate the relationship of these medications with incidence and post-diagnosis survival of patients and at the same time identify to what extent any observed associations are altered when existing dementia therapies are co-administered. Collectively these findings will allow the prioritisation of drugs to be tested as repurposed treatments in clinical trials of these conditions in the future.


Patrick Kehoe - Chief Investigator - University of Bristol
Annie Sadoo - Collaborator - University of Bristol
Ciarrah-Jane Barry - Collaborator - University of Bristol
Luke McGuinness - Collaborator - University of Bristol
Neil Davies - Collaborator - University of Bristol
Richard Martin - Collaborator - University of Bristol
Venexia Walker - Collaborator - University of Bristol


HES Admitted Patient Care;HES Outpatient;ONS Death Registration Data;Patient Level Index of Multiple Deprivation;Practice Level Index of Multiple Deprivation