Summary: A new study reveals antiepileptic drugs with side effects of impairing cognitive function can increase the risk of patients developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, the higher the dose of the medication used, the greater the risk of developing dementia, researchers report.
Source: University of Eastern Finland.
The use of antiepileptic drugs is associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland and the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, DZNE. Continuous use of antiepileptic drugs for a period exceeding one year was associated with a 15 percent increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease in the Finnish dataset, and with a 30 percent increased risk of dementia in the German dataset.
Some antiepileptic drugs are known to impair cognitive function, which refers to all different aspects of information processing. When the researchers compared different antiepileptic drugs, they found that the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia was specifically associated with drugs that impair cognitive function. These drugs were associated with a 20 percent increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and with a 60 percent increased risk of dementia.
The researchers also found that the higher the dose of a drug that impairs cognitive function, the higher the risk of dementia. However, other antiepileptic drugs, i.e. those which do not impair cognitive processing, were not associated with the risk.
“More research should be conducted into the long-term cognitive effects of these drugs, especially among older people,” Senior Researcher Heidi Taipale from the University of Eastern Finland says.
Besides for epilepsy, antiepileptic drugs are used in the treatment of neuropathic pain, bipolar disorder and generalised anxiety disorder. This new study is the largest research on the topic so far, and the first to investigate the association in terms of regularity of use, dose and comparing the risk between antiepileptic drugs with and without cognitive-impairing effects. The results were published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
The association of antiepileptic drug use with Alzheimer’s disease was assessed in Finnish persons diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and their controls without the disease. This study is part of the nationwide register-based MEDALZ study, which includes all 70,718 persons diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in Finland during 2005-2011 and their 282,862 controls. The association of antiepileptic drug use with dementia was investigated in a sample from a large German statutory health insurance provider, Allgemeine Ortskrankenkasse (AOK). The dataset includes 20,325 persons diagnosed with dementia in 2004-2011, and their 81,300 controls.
About this neuroscience research article
Source: Heidi Taipale – University of Eastern Finland Publisher: Organized by NeuroscienceNews.com. Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is credited to UEF. Original Research:Abstract for “Use of Antiepileptic Drugs and Dementia Risk—an Analysis of Finnish Health Register and German Health Insurance Data” by Heidi Taipale PhD, Willy Gomm PhD, Karl Broich MD, Wolfgang Maier MD, Anna‐Maija Tolppanen PhD, Antti Tanskanen, Phil Lic, Jari Tiihonen PhD, MD, Sirpa Hartikainen PhD, MD, and Britta Haenisch PhD in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Published March 22 2018, doi:10.1111/jgs.15358
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[cbtabs][cbtab title=”MLA”]University of Eastern Finland “Antiepileptic Drugs Increase Risk of Alzheimer’s.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 9 April 2018. <https://neurosciencenews.com/alzheimers-antiepilepsy-drug-8741/>.[/cbtab][cbtab title=”APA”]University of Eastern Finland (2018, April 9). Antiepileptic Drugs Increase Risk of Alzheimer’s. NeuroscienceNews. Retrieved April 9, 2018 from https://neurosciencenews.com/alzheimers-antiepilepsy-drug-8741/[/cbtab][cbtab title=”Chicago”]University of Eastern Finland “Antiepileptic Drugs Increase Risk of Alzheimer’s.” https://neurosciencenews.com/alzheimers-antiepilepsy-drug-8741/ (accessed April 9, 2018).[/cbtab][/cbtabs]
Use of Antiepileptic Drugs and Dementia Risk—an Analysis of Finnish Health Register and German Health Insurance Data
Objectives To evaluate the association between regular antiepileptic drug (AED) use and incident dementia.
Setting Finnish public health register and German health insurance data.
Participants Individuals with dementia of any type (German data, N=20,325) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD; Finnish data, N=70,718) were matched with up to four control persons without dementia.
Measurements We analyzed the association between regular AED use and dementia. To address potential protopathic bias, a lag time of 2 years between AED use and dementia diagnosis was introduced. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated by applying conditional logistic regression, adjusted for potential confounding factors such as comorbidities and polypharmacy.
Results Regular AED use was more frequent in individuals with dementia than controls. Regular use of AEDs was associated with a significantly greater risk of incident dementia (adjusted OR=1.28, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.14–1.44) and AD (adjusted OR=1.15, 95% CI=1.09–1.22) than no AED use. We also detected a trend toward greater risk of dementia with higher exposure. When AEDs with and without known cognitive adverse effects (CAEs) were compared, a significantly greater risk of dementia was observed for substances with known CAEs (dementia: OR=1.59, 95% CI=1.36–1.86; AD: OR=1.19, 95% CI=1.11–1.27).
Conclusion AEDs, especially those with known CAEs, may contribute to incident dementia and AD in older persons.