Purpose of review: Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a well-established risk factor for the development of dementia. Dementia and T2D share some underlying pathophysiology that has led to interest in the potential to repurpose drugs used in the management of T2D to benefit brain health. This review describes the scientific data available on the use of T2D medications for the risk reduction or management of dementia, in people with and without T2D. Recent findings: Results from basic laboratory research support the potential for commonly-used medications for T2D, including those with direct glucose-lowering properties, to have a beneficial effect on brain health. However, human studies have been mostly observational in nature and report conflicting results. Preliminary data suggest that intranasal insulin, metformin, and GLP-1 agonists show promise for dementia, but confirmatory evidence for their benefit in dementia is still lacking. Summary: Current evidence does not support the repurposing of T2D medications for dementia risk reduction or management. Research in the field of T2D and dementia is active, and further data are required before definitive conclusions can be drawn.
- Type 2 diabetes