Diabetes Therapies for Dementia

  • Chris Moran
  • Michele L. Callisaya
  • Velandai Srikanth
  • Zoe ArvanitakisEmail author
Dementia (K.S. Marder, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Dementia


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.


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 Dementia Drugs 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Chris Moran, Michele L. Callisaya, and Velandai Srikanth each declares no potential conflicts of interest. Zoe Arvanitakis reports grants from National Institutes of Health (R01 NS084965 and RF1 AG059621), during the conduct of the study; other from Amylyx, outside the submitted work.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article is a review of the published scientific literature, and no human or animal subjects were studied by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chris Moran
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Michele L. Callisaya
    • 1
    • 4
  • Velandai Srikanth
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Zoe Arvanitakis
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Peninsula Clinical School, Central Clinical SchoolMonash UniversityFrankstonAustralia
  2. 2.Departments of Medicine and Geriatric Medicine, Peninsula HealthFrankstonAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Aged Care, Caulfield Hospital, Alfred HealthCaulfieldAustralia
  4. 4.Menzies Institute for Medical ResearchUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  5. 5.Department of Neurological Sciences, Rush Memory Clinic, Rush Alzheimer’s Disease CenterRush University Medical CenterChicagoUSA

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