Centrally acting ACE inhibitor (cACEi) and angiotensin receptor blocker (cARB) use and cognitive dysfunction in patients with SLE
Objective: Cognitive dysfunction (CD) is detectable in approximately 40% of patients with SLE. Despite this high prevalence, there are no approved pharmacological treatment options for this detrimental condition. Preliminary murine studies show potential for targeting microglial activation as a treatment of SLE-CD, which may be ameliorated with centrally acting ACE inhibitor (cACEi) and angiotensin receptor blocker (cARB) use. The aim of this study is to determine if there is an association of cACEi/cARB use with cognitive function in a human SLE cohort. Methods: The American College of Rheumatology neuropsychological battery was administered to patients with consecutive SLE at a single academic health centre at baseline, 6 and 12 months. Scores were compared with sex-matched and age-matched control subjects. Clinical and demographic data were gathered at each visit. The primary outcome was CD defined as dysfunction in two or more cognitive domains. The primary predictor was a total cumulative dose of cACEi/cARB in milligrams per kilogram, recorded as an equivalent ramipril dose. Odds of CD with respect to cACEi/cARB use were determined through generalised linear mixed modelling. Results: A total of 300 patients, representing 676 visits, completed this study. One hundred sixteen (39%) met the criteria for CD. Fifty-three participants (18%) were treated with a cACEi or cARB. Mean cumulative dose was 236 mg/kg (calculated as equivalent ramipril dose). Cumulative cACEi/cARB dose was not protective against SLE-CD. Caucasian ethnicity, current employment status and azathioprine cumulative dose were each associated with reduced odds of SLE-CD. Increasing Fatigue Severity Scale score was associated with increased odds of CD. Conclusions: In a single-centre SLE cohort, cACEi/cARB use was not associated with absence of CD. Many important confounders may have influenced the results of this retrospective study. A randomised trial is required to accurately determine if cACEi/cARB is a potential treatment for SLE-CD.