Diabetes Drug Pioglitazone may also Treat Alzheimer’s disease

Research Finds Some Benefits

Preliminary studies of Pioglitazone, an FDA-approved medication for type 2 diabetes indicate that it could reduce inflammatory reactions to the abnormal accumulations of amyloid beta protein that occur in Alzheimer’s disease. David S. Geldmacher et al, M.D., of the Universities of Virginia, Charlottesville and Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio Other research suggests that blood sugar and insulin levels, which are regulated by pioglitazone, can also influence memory and thinking in people with Alzheimer’s.

The 18-month study of 25 people (12 taking pioglitazone, 13 a placebo) was to look at the safety of pioglitazone’s effects in non-diabetics with Alzheimer’s and to look at whether pioglitazone treatment might slow progression of the disease.

Their study found that pioglitazone had similar side effects in people with Alzheimer’s and with people with diabetes. Those were foot, ankle swelling but no serious or life-threatening side effects. The researchers found no statistically significant differences in memory or thinking, daily function, or abnormal behaviors between the pioglitazone and placebo groups. Some people taking pioglitazone showed less deterioration over the period in some assessments.


David S. Geldmacher – A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, 18-Month Pilot Study of the PPAR-Gamma Agonist Pioglitazone in Alzheimer's Disease.
This research was funded by Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America NIA/NIH)

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