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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2011 Sep;217(1):51-60. doi: 10.1007/s00213-011-2257-9. Epub 2011 Apr 12.

Cognitive enhancement following acute losartan in normotensive young adults.

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School of Psychology, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton BN19QH, UK.



Losartan, an angiotensin II receptor antagonist (AIIA), is an antihypertensive that has previously been suggested to have cognitive-enhancing potential for older adults. The objective indices for such effects are equivocal, however, and if these drugs do offer dual advantages of hypertension control plus cognitive-enhancing potential, there exists a clear need to establish this directly.


This work examines the potential of losartan administered as a single dose to healthy young adults to improve cognitive performance alone or to reverse scopolamine-induced cognitive decrements.


In two placebo-controlled, double-blind studies, participants completed a cognitive test battery once before and once after drug absorption. In experiment 1, participants were randomly allocated to receive placebo, losartan 50 mg or losartan 100 mg. In experiment 2, participants were randomly allocated to one of four treatment groups: placebo/placebo, placebo/scopolamine, losartan/scopolamine and losartan/placebo (50 mg losartan p.o. and 1.2 mg scopolamine hydrochloride p.o.).


Losartan 50 mg improved performance on a task of prospective memory when administered alone and reversed the detrimental effects of scopolamine both in a standard lexical decision paradigm (pā€‰<ā€‰0.01) and when the task incorporated a prospective memory component (pā€‰<ā€‰0.008).


The findings highlight a cognitive-enhancing potential for losartan on compromised cognitive systems and emphasise the potential of AIIAs to produce benefits over and above hypertension control.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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