Association of cardiovascular disease management drugs with Lewy body dementia: A case-control study

Sonja W. Scholz*, Brian E. Moroz, Sara Saez-Atienzar, Ruth Chia, Elizabeth K. Cahoon, Clifton L. Dalgard, Daryl Michal Freedman, Ruth M. Pfeiffer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Lewy body dementia is the second most common neurodegenerative dementia after Alzheimer's disease. Disease-modifying therapies for this disabling neuropsychiatric condition are critically needed. To identify drugs associated with the risk of developing Lewy body dementia, we performed a population-based case-control study of 148 170 US Medicare participants diagnosed with Lewy body dementia between 1 January 2008 and 31 December 2014 and of 1 253 043 frequency-matched controls. We estimated odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for the association of Lewy body dementia risk with 1017 prescription drugs overall and separately for the three major racial groups (Black, Hispanic and White Americans). We identified significantly reduced Lewy body dementia risk associated with drugs used to treat cardiovascular diseases (anti-hypertensives: odds ratio = 0.72, 95% confidence interval = 0.70-0.74, P-value = 0; cholesterol-lowering agents: odds ratio = 0.85, 95% confidence interval = 0.83-0.87, P-value = 0; anti-diabetics: odds ratio = 0.83, 95% confidence interval = 0.62-0.72, P-value = 0). Notably, anti-diabetic medications were associated with a larger risk reduction among Black Lewy body dementia patients compared with other racial groups (Black: odds ratio = 0.67, 95% confidence interval = 0.62-0.72, P-value = 0; Hispanic: odds ratio = 0.86, 95% = 0.80-0.92, P-value = 5.16 × 10-5; White: odds ratio = 0.85, 95% confidence interval = 0.82-0.88, P-value = 0). To independently confirm the epidemiological findings, we looked for evidence of genetic overlap between Lewy body dementia and cardiovascular traits using whole-genome sequence data generated for 2591 Lewy body dementia patients and 4027 controls. Bivariate mixed modelling identified shared genetic risk between Lewy body dementia and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, Type 2 diabetes and hypertension. By combining epidemiological and genomic data, we demonstrated that drugs treating cardiovascular diseases are associated with reduced Lewy body dementia risk, and these associations varied across racial groups. Future randomized clinical trials need to confirm our findings, but our data suggest that assiduous management of cardiovascular diseases may be beneficial in this understudied form of dementia.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberfcad346
JournalBrain Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • cardiovascular disease
  • genomic analysis
  • Lewy body dementia
  • Medicare
  • prescription drugs


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