Researchers have long noticed a connection between diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Having type 2 nearly doubles your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Now, a trial is underway in the UK testing the type 2 diabetes drug Victoza (liraglutide) for its effectiveness in treating Alzheimer’s.
Diabetes and Alzheimer’s link
The link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s is likely related to glucose metabolism. Some scientists have even called Alzheimer’s “Type 3 Diabetes.” Researchers are still not completely sure what the connection is, but it could be due to lack of blood flow to the brain due to damages blood vessels over years of having diabetes.
In the trial, 204 people with the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s dementia will either get Victoza or placebo injections for 12 months, with an opportunity to extend another year after the trial is complete. After the trial period, researchers will measure brain glucose metabolism, cognition, inflammation, brain volume, and other factors. They will also test for any side effects of taking Victoza for Alzheimer’s.
Victoza has already been shown to improve Alzheimer’s symptoms in smaller studies and reduce amyloid plaques in the brain, a main marker of Alzheimer’s.
Since Victoza is already approved as a treatment for type 2 diabetes, getting approval for Alzheimer’s would be cheap and quick, as it is simply a repurposing of the drug.
What is Victoza?
Liraglutide is a medication that is most often used for type 2 diabetes and obesity. It was approved for use in the United States in 2010.
Victoza (liraglutide) is an injectable medication that can help manage blood sugar levels in people with type 2. Victoza was also recently the first non-insulin drug approved for type 2 children in certain cases where blood sugar levels can’t be controlled.
Victoza side effects
Some common side effects of Victoza are:
- Low blood sugar
- Abdominal pain
- Pain at the injection site