Antihypertensive treatment with nitrendipine, a dihydropyridine calcium channel blocker, reduced the incidence of dementia by 55%, according to new data from the Systolic Hypertension in Europe Study.
After earlier findings from the study showed that the incidence of dementia was halved, from 7.7 cases to 3.8 per 1,000 patients, the researchers extended their study into an open-label, active-treatment, follow-up trial. At the same time, they also continued the Vascular Dementia Project to review their original estimates of the drug’s benefit.
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The data are based on 5,849 patient-years of follow-up in the former placebo group and on 6,359 patient-years in the active treatment group. The overall incidence of dementia was 5.2 cases per 1,000 patient-years, 43 in the control group, and 21 in the active treatment group. The incidence of both Alzheimer’s disease and mixed or vascular dementia was reduced.
The findings, say the researchers, imply that treating 1,000 patients for five years might prevent 20 cases of dementia. These results, as well as those from other overviews, suggest that calcium channel blockers offer better protection against stroke than diuretics and beta blockers do.