Repurposing Licensed Drugs for Use Against Alzheimer's Disease

J Alzheimers Dis. 2021;81(3):921-932. doi: 10.3233/JAD-210080.


Substantial evidence, composed of drug mechanisms of action, in vivo testing, and epidemiological data, exists to support clinical testing of FDA-approved drugs for repurposing to the treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Licensed compound investigation can often proceed at a faster and more cost-effective manner than un-approved compounds moving through the drug pipeline. As the prevalence of AD increases with life expectancy, the current rise in life expectancy amalgamated with the lack of an effective drug for the treatment of AD unnecessarily burdens our medical system and is an urgent public health concern. The unfounded reluctance to examine repurposing existing drugs for possible AD therapy further impedes the possibility of improving the quality of patient lives with a terminal disease. This review summarizes some evidence which exists to suggest certain already-approved drugs may be considered for the treatment of AD and will perhaps encourage physicians to off-label prescribe these safe therapeutics.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid-β; amyloid-β protein precursor; cognitive dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • Drug Repositioning
  • Humans
  • Nootropic Agents / therapeutic use*


  • Nootropic Agents