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MDLinxExisting Drugs Point to First Treatment for Strokes Linked to Dementia

Promising Discovery: Existing Drugs Could Be Repurposed for First Treatment of Dementia-Linked Strokes

Clinical trials reveal the potential of two commonly used cardiac drugs, isosorbide mononitrate and cilostazol, to serve as novel treatment options for lacunar strokes, a leading cause of dementia.

Key Points:
  • The study indicates that isosorbide mononitrate and cilostazol can be safely employed to improve outcomes after lacunar stroke.
  • Used in combination, these drugs demonstrated heightened effectiveness, with potential to become a treatment for lacunar strokes within five years pending additional trials.
  • Lacunar strokes, impacting 35,000 individuals in the UK annually, result from cerebral small vessel disease, a significant contributor to cognitive impairment and dementia.
  • Currently, no specific effective treatments exist for these strokes, which can lead to issues with cognition, movement, and dementia.
  • Participants who received both drugs reported approximately 20% less cognitive impairment, along with enhanced independence and quality of life.
  • The drugs’ potential efficacy stems from their possible improvement of the inner lining of blood vessels, a suspected element in small vessel disease.
  • The research team intends to verify these findings in a larger, four-year clinical trial and investigate the drugs’ effectiveness against other small vessel disease conditions.

“Now we understand more about what is triggering these small vessel strokes to attack the brain, we’ve been able to focus our efforts on treatments that can put a halt to this damage…as these drugs are already widely available for other circulatory disorders, and inexpensive, it shouldn’t take too long to move our findings from research into everyday clinical practice.”

Professor Joanna Wardlaw of the University of Edinburgh and UK Dementia Research Institute
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