Background: It has recently been shown that the leukotriene receptor antagonist montelukast rejuvenates aged brains in rats. The question is whether this commonly used, systemic, anti-asthmatic medicine has a similar effect in humans?
Results: We approached this issue by doing statistical analyses based on the Norwegian Prescription Database. The Database lists all prescription-based medications in Norway, but not drugs given to people who are in hospitals or nursing homes. The question asked was whether users of montelukast, compared to users of inhalation asthma medicine, live longer, and are less likely to develop dementia. A small, non-significant protective effect on the use of dementia medicine became significant when adjusting for other prescriptions (based on the notion that montelukast users on average are less healthy). A possible protective effect was substantiated by looking at the lack of prescriptions as a proxy for dementia-related residency in nursing homes, and the risk of death.
Conclusions: The present results suggest that montelukast may alleviate the cognitive decline associated with human aging. However, further data, preferably based on controlled clinical trials, are required.
Keywords: Cognitive decline; Dementia; Leukotriene; Montelukast; Prescription database.