Can Raloxifene Improve Cognitive Function in Alzheimer's Dementia?

Raloxifene does not appear to have a beneficial effect on memory and thinking skills in women with dementia due to Alzheimer's disease, a recent study has shown. Findings of the study are published in Neurology.

Raloxifene, a selective estrogen receptor modulator, acts as an estrogen blocker in the uterus and breasts, and is also used to prevent bone loss after menopause. Findings from an earlier study suggested that raloxifene may reduce the risk of cognitive impairment for dementia.

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Victor Henderson, MD, MS, from Stanford University in Stanford, CA, and colleagues conducted a study (n=76) in women with mild to moderate dementia due to Alzheimer's disease. The women were randomized to raloxifene 120mg or placebo for 12 months. The primary outcome was change in the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale, cognitive subscale (ADAS-cog) at 12 months. Researchers assessed their memory and other mental functions at baseline and then every 3 months as well as their ability to complete daily activities. Family members and caregivers were also asked about their burden and stress at the beginning, middle, and end of the study. 

Results of the cognitive skill tests did not differ significantly between the raloxifene and placebo groups. Study authors did not observe any significant differences between family members and caregivers on the level of stress or burden or in daily activities. 

Dr. Henderson concluded that raloxifene was not found to have any significant effect on patients after 12 months. "If there are cognitive effects in this population, these effects are likely to be no more than small."

For more information visit neurology.org.
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