Association of Tumor Necrosis Factor-α Inhibitors with Incident Dementia: Analysis Based on Population-Based Cohort Studies

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Background and Objective: Preliminary evidence suggests a possible preventive effect of tumor necrosis factor-α inhibitors (TNFi) on incident dementia. The objective of the analysis was to investigate the association between TNFi and the risk of incident dementia in a population undergoing treatment for rheumatological disorders. Methods: We followed patients aged ≥ 65 years with dementia and rheumatological conditions in two cohort studies, DANBIO (N = 21,538), a Danish clinical database, and AOK PLUS (N = 7112), a German health insurance database. We defined incident dementia using diagnostic codes and/or medication use and used Cox regression to compare the associations of TNFi with other rheumatological therapies on the risk of dementia. To ensure that the patients were receiving long-term medication, we included patients with rheumatic diseases and systemic therapies. Results: We observed similar trends towards a lower risk of dementia associated with TNFi versus other anti-inflammatory agents in both cohorts (hazard ratios were 0.92 [95% confidence interval 0.76, 1.10] in DANBIO and 0.89 [95% confidence interval 0.63, 1.24] in AOK PLUS, respectively). Conclusions: Tumor necrosis factor-α inhibitors may decrease the risk of incident dementia although the association did not reach statistical significance in this analysis. Further research, ideally with randomization, is needed to gauge the potential of repurposing TNFi for dementia prevention and/or treatment.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDrugs and Aging
Pages (from-to)423–430
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2024

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© The Author(s) 2024.

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