Relationship Between Antihypertensive Medications and Cognitive Impairment: Part II. Review of Physiology and Animal Studies

Curr Hypertens Rep. 2016 Aug;18(8):66. doi: 10.1007/s11906-016-0673-2.


Purpose of review: There is an established association between hypertension and increased risk of poor cognitive performance and dementia including Alzheimer's disease; however, associations between antihypertensive medications (AHM) and dementia risk are less clear. An increased interest in AHM has resulted in expanding publications; however, none of the recent reviews provide comprehensive review. Our extensive review includes 24 mechanistic animal and human studies published over the last 5 years assessing relationship between AHM and cognitive function.

Recent findings: All classes of AHM showed similar result patterns in animal studies. The mechanism by which AHM exert their effect was extensively studied by evaluating well-established pathways of AD disease process, including amyloid beta (Aβ), vascular, oxidative stress and inflammation pathways, but only few studies evaluated the blood pressure lowering effect on the AD disease process. Methodological limitations of the studies prevent comprehensive conclusions prior to further work evaluating AHM in animals and larger human observational studies, and selecting those with promising results for future RCTs.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Antihypertensive medication; Cognitive decline; Dementia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology
  • Alzheimer Disease / prevention & control
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / physiology
  • Animals
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cognition / drug effects
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / physiopathology*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / prevention & control*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Risk Factors


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Antihypertensive Agents