Could Arthritis Drugs Reduce The Risk Of Alzheimer's?

Alzheimer's is a disease that causes dementia, a general condition that affects memory loss and the ability to do daily tasks. The disease accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases, according to the Alzheimer's Association. There is currently no cure, but the disease can possibly be treated with a new therapy called aducanumab. The therapy targets amyloid, a sign of Alzheimer's, that can reduce cognitive decline, according to the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

Other treatments could potentially slow the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and improve a person's quality of life. There is currently a mission to potentially repurpose other drugs to treat the disease, and 1 such drug could be arthritis medication. These drugs help relieve the symptoms of arthritis, a condition that causes joints to swell and become painful, according to the Mayo Clinic. As researchers search for new ways to treat Alzheimer's disease, they have looked toward arthritis medication as a potential aid.

Rheumatoid arthritis drugs could help treat Alzheimer's symptoms

Based on current research, it's possible that a specific type of arthritis drug could help treat Alzheimer's symptoms. Early findings from a 2022 study published in Neurology have suggested that tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors — drugs that help stop inflammation — could help reduce the risk of dementia. However, the usage case was very small, with only rheumatoid arthritis patients who also had heart disease showing a reduced risk of dementia.

Researchers are stressing caution in regards to their findings. If arthritis drugs will be used to fight Alzheimer's, they will only be used in very specific circumstances — not as a broad way to attack the disease, according to Heather Synder, vice president of medical relations with the Alzheimer's Association.

"There is not enough evidence to suggest rheumatoid arthritis medications are an effective risk reduction treatment for any one population," Synder told HealthDay News. "However, we encourage research in this space to continue and individuals to consider participating in Alzheimer's clinical trials."