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Nov 2, 2022


Do Statins Cause Dementia?

  • One of the statin side effects is cognitive impairment.
  • Concerns arose about the relationship between statin use and the risk of dementia.
  • Study revealed use of statins was linked to a lower prevalence of dementia.

What are Statins?

Statins, also referred to as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, are a drug class of medications most frequently prescribed to treat dyslipidemia. There are 7 statins available.

Read Compare Statins

  • Atorvastatin (brand: Lipitor): 10–80 mg daily
  • Lovastatin (Altoprev): 20–80 mg daily
  • Rosuvastatin (Crestor): 5–40 mg daily
  • Simvastatin (Zocor): 10–40 mg daily in the evening
  • Fluvastatin (Lescol XL (extended-release): 20–80 mg taken in the evening
  • Pitavastatin (Livalo, Zypitamag): 1–4 mg daily
  • Pravastatin (Pravachol): 10–80 mg daily

Common statin side effects

  • Muscle pain and/or weakness
  • Joint pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Cognitive impairment

Statins work by lowering your LDL (“bad” cholesterol) levels by preventing your liver from producing cholesterol, therefore your risk of having a heart attack or stroke can be greatly decreased.

What impact do statins have on your brain?

Concerns arose in 2012 after the FDA warned that statin users had complained of acute cognitive impairment while using these medications.

As a result, to measure the strength of the relationship between statin therapy and the risk of dementia, a meta-analysis study was conducted.

A meta-analysis study is defined as an analysis of data from various research concerning the same topic in order to spot broad trends.

What is Dementia?

The most prevalent neurological condition, dementia is characterized by a loss of memory and other cognitive abilities.

Memory loss and poor judgment are 2 examples of at least 2 brain functions that are impaired in dementia.

2 forms of dementia discussed throughout the study include the following:

Vascular dementia (VaD)

Memory loss affects older individuals with vascular dementia, especially those with diabetes or obesity who are at higher risk of developing a stroke.

Early on, the illness impairs your ability to reason and make decisions. Later phases have an impact on memory.

Unlike Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia tends to affect speed of thinking and problem-solving rather than memory loss.

Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic condition that impairs memory and other critical mental abilities.

Do Statins Cause Dementia?

The comparison between the dementia risk among those using statins and that among those who are not taking statins was the key finding of this meta-analysis.

It was reported that there was a 17% lower incidence of dementia from all causes related to statin use.

Correspondingly, it was discovered that statin use was considered neutral in terms of vascular dementia (VaD) risk and was significantly associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease.

As a result, it was concluded the use of statins was significantly linked to a lower prevalence of dementia.

Additionally, The Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) recently published a study with the goal of bringing further attention to this subject.

The researchers who carried out this study found no difference in dementia risk between individuals who used statins and those who did not after a 5-year follow-up period.

Furthermore, they observed no differences between various statin subtypes.

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