Background: Centrally acting angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (CACE-Is) are associated with reduced rates of cognitive decline in patients with dementia. CACE-Is may also improve exercise tolerance in functionally impaired older adults with normal cognition, suggesting that CACE-Is may positively influence activities of daily living (ADL) in dementia.
Objective: To compare rates of decline in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease (AD) receiving CACE-Is to those not currently treated with CACE-Is (NoCACE-I), included in the Doxycycline and Rifampicin for Alzheimer's Disease study (n = 406).
Methods: Patients were included if baseline and end-point (twelve months apart) scores were available for measures including the Standardized Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale - Cognitive Subscale; Quick Mild Cognitive Impairment screen; Clinical Dementia Rating Scale (CDR-SB), and Lawton-Brody ADL Scale.
Results: There was a significant, 25% difference (median one-point) in the 12-month rate of decline in ADL scores in patients taking CACE-Is (n = 91), compared to the NoCACE-I group (n = 274), p = 0.024. This remained significant after adjusting for age, gender, education, and blood pressure, p = 0.034. When individual CACE-Is were compared to the NoCACE-I group, a significant reduction in the rate of decline in ADLs (median one versus four points), were only observed for perindopril, p = 0.01. The CDR-SB was also reduced (median one-point) for the perindopril compared to the NoCACE-I group, p = 0.04.
Conclusion: This observational study suggests that CACE-Is, and potentially perindopril in particular, are associated with a reduced rate of functional decline in patients with AD, without an association with mood or behavior. This suggests that CACE-Is may slow disease progression in AD.
Keywords: ACE inhibitors; Alzheimer's disease; cognitive; dementia; function; psychological decline.