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According to the World Heart Federation, hypertension affects 1.3 billion people worldwide, and it is responsible for 10 million deaths a year. Rilmenidine is a prescription drug used for the treatment of hypertension. Now, a recent study has suggested that it may be effective at managing aging and extending lifespan. 

What is rilmenidine?

Rilmenidine is a prescribed antihypertensive drug that’s been found to be quite effective. It is well-tolerated and has even been found to improve glucose tolerance, lipid risk factors, and insulin sensitivity. 

Hypertension drug for longevity

Researchers are beginning to acknowledge the effects that medication prescribed for chronic conditions may have on lifespan and health span. In a study published in Aging Cell, researchers turned to the hypertension drug rilmenidine to determine its effect on lifespan. Rilmenidine was chosen because previous studies found that it mimics the effects of caloric restriction on a cellular level. 

Caloric restriction has been acknowledged as having anti-aging benefits. However, studies have also found that caloric restriction in humans not only has mixed results, but also causes side effects. 

There is now a growing effort to find alternative methods or medications that can mimic the benefits of caloric restriction. 

Per the study, the researchers treated young and old Caenorhabditis elegans worms with rilmenidine. The C. elegans worms were selected due to their genes having similarities to counterparts in human genomes.

Does Rilmenidine have anti-aging benefits?

The team found that the C. elegans worms lived longer and also displayed higher measures of various health markers, similar to the effects of caloric restriction. 

As promising as this study is, more research is needed. After all, C. elegans worms aren’t exactly genetic cousins when it comes to human beings. However, should rilmenidine be shown to have the same effects on humans, then it would be a win for longevity. The drug can be taken orally, has mild and rare side effects, and is already widely prescribed. As such, it wouldn’t be difficult for an aging population to access it. 

With a global ageing population, the benefits of delaying ageing, even if slightly, are immense. Repurposing drugs capable of extending lifespan and healthspan has a huge untapped potential in translational geroscience.

For the first time, we have been able to show in animals that rilmenidine can increase lifespan. We are now keen to explore if rilmenidine may have other clinical applications.” Professor João Pedro Magalhães, study lead author. 

Want to know more?

It’s not just a hypertension drug that has longevity-boosting potential. Metformin is a diabetes drug that researchers believe may be effective as an anti-aging tool.


Bennett, D. F., Goyala, A., Statzer, C., Beckett, C. W., Tyshkovskiy, A., Gladyshev, V. N., Ewald, C. Y., & de Magalhães, J. P. (2023). Rilmenidine extends lifespan and healthspan in Caenorhabditis elegans via a nischarin I1-imidazoline receptor. Aging cell, e13774. Advance online publication.

Pie Mulumba

Pie Mulumba

Pie Mulumba is a beauty and wellness writer who has a passion for poetry, equality, natural hair, and skin-care. With a journalism degree from Pearson's Institute of Higher Education, and identifiable by either her large afro or colorful locks, Pie aspires to continuously provide the latest information, be it beauty or wellness, on how one can adopt a healthy lifestyle on a day-to-day basis.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.

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