Your Cholesterol Drug May Prevent Dementia

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently ordered that statin labels include a warning about memory problems associated with short-term use.åÊA research team from Johns Hopkins Medicine found no evidence of this, based on their analysis of prior studies. In addition, they found that statin use for longer than one year reduced the risk of dementia by 29%. In short, your cholesterol drug may prevent dementia.

In patients without baseline cognitive dysfunction, the results of the available studies are most compatible with no significant short-term cognitive detriments related to statin therapy, whereas long-term data suggest a beneficial role in the prevention of dementia.åÊ

Researchers noted that at present, patients and physicians can be reassured about concerns related to neurocognitive effects of statin therapy, and the evidence does not support a change to practice guidelines.
‰ÛÏWe looked at high-quality, randomized controlled trials and prospective studies that included more than 23,000 men and women with no prior history of cognitive problems,‰Û stated Raoul Manalac, M.D., a co-primary author. ‰ÛÏThe participants in those studies were followed for up to 25 years.‰Û

The short-term memory issues related to statins could be caused by drug interactions, since many people on statins also take other medications, the researchers surmised. The benefits of statins make sense, they wrote, because these drugs reduce or stabilize plaque in blood vessels, which is associated with dementia.

So if you are on a cholesterol medicine and getting routine blood work and you are fine, be comforted by the fact that these medications may have other benefits.