Forth Valley patients needed to take part in Alzheimer’s drug trial

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People in Forth Valley living with Alzheimer’s disease are being urged to take part in a groundbreaking trial.

It is investigating whether Losartan, a common blood pressure drug, could slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s.

Already five patients in Forth Valley are taking part but more are needed to allow the trial to reach conclusion.

Researchers from a group of universities across the UK believe Losartan, which first became available in 1995, can slow down the progression of the disease by improving brain blood flow and altering chemical pathways that cause brain cell damage, brain shrinkage and memory problems related to Alzheimer’s.

Anyone with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s from Forth Valley who is interested in taking part in the study can talk to their community psychiatric nurse/Alzheimer’s link worker in the first instance, who can then direct them to local research teams.

Alternatively contact the dementia network clinical studies officer for Forth Valley, Rosie Ashworth, on 07816067066 or email gg-uhb.dementiaresearch@nhs.net.

Dr Vivek Pattan, NHS Forth Valley consultant in old age psychiatry and clinical director, said: “This is quite important for patients in Forth Valley as they do not normally have the opportunity to take part in trials that are run in the big centres. “As this is a known drug, it is relatively easy and safe to participate, as what we are doing is looking at the possibility of a different result compared with its usual indication.”

Participants in the study, which involves 23 centres across the UK, will be assigned to receive either Losartan or a placebo and nobody will know until the end who received which. This is one of the most powerful study designs available. People with Alzheimer’s disease who have high or normal blood pressure can take part if they meet certain eligibility criteria.

Professor Pat Kehoe, Gestetner Professor of translational dementia research in the School of Clinical Sciences at the University of Bristol, who is leading the trial, said: “The involvement of patients and their carers at the various academic and NHS associated dementia research centres working with this UK-based trial will be instrumental in helping to test if losartan will be a future treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.”