Drugs to prevent stroke and dementia show promise in small trial: Medical Brief 251 - 01 May 2019

Drugs to prevent stroke and dementia show promise in small trial: Medical Brief 251 - 01 May 2019

Treatments that prevent recurrence of types of stroke and dementia caused by damage to small blood vessels in the brain have moved a step closer, following a small UK study of two existing drugs used to treat other conditions.

The drugs – called cilostazol and isosorbide mononitrate – are already used to treat other conditions, such as heart disease and angina.

This is the first time they have been tested in the UK for the treatment of stroke or vascular dementia.

A study involving more than 50 stroke patients found that patients tolerated the drugs, with no serious side effects, even when the drugs were given in full dose or in combination with other medicines. Experts say the findings pave the way for larger studies to check if the treatments can prevent brain damage and reduce risk of stroke and vascular dementia.

Damage to small blood vessels in the brain is responsible for around a quarter of strokes. It is also a common cause of memory problems and dementia. Around 400,000 people in the UK are affected but there are no specific treatments. Currently the only way to reduce risk of the disease is by controlling blood pressure and cholesterol, stopping smoking and managing symptoms of diabetes.

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