Pharmacogenomics of Alzheimer's Disease: Novel Strategies for Drug Utilization and Development

Methods Mol Biol. 2022:2547:275-387. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-2573-6_13.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a priority health problem in developed countries with a high cost to society. Approximately 20% of direct costs are associated with pharmacological treatment. Over 90% of patients require multifactorial treatments, with risk of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) and drug-drug interactions (DDIs) for the treatment of concomitant diseases such as hypertension (>25%), obesity (>70%), diabetes mellitus type 2 (>25%), hypercholesterolemia (40%), hypertriglyceridemia (20%), metabolic syndrome (20%), hepatobiliary disorder (15%), endocrine/metabolic disorders (>20%), cardiovascular disorder (40%), cerebrovascular disorder (60-90%), neuropsychiatric disorders (60-90%), and cancer (10%).For the past decades, pharmacological studies in search of potential treatments for AD focused on the following categories: neurotransmitter enhancers (11.38%), multitarget drugs (2.45%), anti-amyloid agents (13.30%), anti-tau agents (2.03%), natural products and derivatives (25.58%), novel synthetic drugs (8.13%), novel targets (5.66%), repository drugs (11.77%), anti-inflammatory drugs (1.20%), neuroprotective peptides (1.25%), stem cell therapy (1.85%), nanocarriers/nanotherapeutics (1.52%), and other compounds (<1%).Pharmacogenetic studies have shown that the therapeutic response to drugs in AD is genotype-specific in close association with the gene clusters that constitute the pharmacogenetic machinery (pathogenic, mechanistic, metabolic, transporter, pleiotropic genes) under the regulatory control of epigenetic mechanisms (DNA methylation, histone/chromatin remodeling, microRNA regulation). Most AD patients (>60%) are carriers of over ten pathogenic genes. The genes that most frequently (>50%) accumulate pathogenic variants in the same AD case are A2M (54.38%), ACE (78.94%), BIN1 (57.89%), CLU (63.15%), CPZ (63.15%), LHFPL6 (52.63%), MS4A4E (50.87%), MS4A6A (63.15%), PICALM (54.38%), PRNP (80.7059), and PSEN1 (77.19%). There is also an accumulation of 15 to 26 defective pharmagenes in approximately 85% of AD patients. About 50% of AD patients are carriers of at least 20 mutant pharmagenes, and over 80% are deficient metabolizers for the most common drugs, which are metabolized via the CYP2D6, CYP2C9, CYP2C19, and CYP3A4/5 enzymes.The implementation of pharmacogenetics can help optimize drug development and the limited therapeutic resources available to treat AD, and personalize the use of anti-dementia drugs in combination with other medications for the treatment of concomitant disorders.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Anti-dementia drugs; Cerebrovascular genomics; Concomitant disorders; Drug development; Neurodegenerative genomics; Pathogenic genes; Pharmacoepigenetics; Pharmacogenomics; Phenotypic profile.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease* / drug therapy
  • Alzheimer Disease* / genetics
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6 / genetics
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6 / metabolism
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6 / therapeutic use
  • Drug Utilization
  • Humans
  • Pharmacogenetics*


  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6