Pathological analysis of brain tissue from animals and humans with a history of traumatic brain injury (TBI) suggests that TBI could be one of the risk factors facilitating onset of dementia with possible Alzheimer’s disease (AD), but medications to prevent or delay AD onset are not yet available.
This study explores four medication classes (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEI), beta blockers, metformin, and statins) approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for other indications and evaluates their influence when used in combination on the risk of possible AD development for patients with a history of TBI. We identified patients with history of TBI from an existing Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) national database. Among 1,660,151 veterans who used VA services between the ages of 50 to 89 years old, we analyzed 733,920 patients, including 15,450 patients with a history of TBI and 718,470 non-TBI patients. The TBI patients were followed for up to 18.5 years, with an average of 7.7 ± 4.7 years, and onset of dementia with possible AD was recorded based on International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD) 9 or 10 codes. The effect of TBI on possible AD development was evaluated by multivariable logistic regression models adjusted by age, gender, race, and other comorbidities. The association of ACEI, beta blockers, metformin, statins, and combinations of these agents over time from the first occurrence of TBI to possible AD onset was assessed using Cox proportional hazard models adjusted for demographics and comorbidities.
Veterans with at least two TBI occurrences by claims data were 25% (odds ratio (OR) = 1.25, 95% confidence intervals (CI) (1.13, 1.37)) more likely to develop dementia with possible AD, compared to those with no record of TBI. In multivariable logistic regression models (propensity score weighted or adjusted), veterans taking a combination of ACEI and statins had reduced risk in developing possible AD after suffering TBI, and use of this medication class combination was associated with a longer period between TBI occurring and dementia with possible AD onset, compared to patients who took statins alone or did not take any of the four target drugs after TBI.
The combination of ACEI and statins significantly lowered the risk of development of dementia with possible AD in a national cohort of people with a history of TBI, thus supporting a clinical approach to lowering the risk of dementia with possible AD.