In the journals
The blood-brain barrier protects the brain from toxic substances. While some medication can penetrate this defensive wall and cause memory problems, certain drugs that treat high blood pressure appear to be associated with better cognitive function.
In an analysis published in the August 2021 issue of Hypertension, researchers gathered information from 14 observational studies of nearly 12,900 adults ages 50 years and older with high blood pressure. It looked specifically at people who took either ACE inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) to treat their condition. There are many types of drugs within these two classes, some of which can cross the blood-brain barrier.
After three years on their medication, those who took an ACE inhibitor (such as lisinopril) or an ARB (like candesartan) that crosses the blood-brain barrier, scored higher on memory recall tests, when compared with those who took a different drug in the same class that doesn’t cross over.
High blood pressure is a risk factor for cognitive decline and dementia in older adults, and treatment with lifestyle changes and all types of blood pressure medications can lower the risk. But these findings suggest that certain blood-brain-crossing blood pressure drugs may offer additional brain benefits.
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