If you have high low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, your healthcare provider may prescribe statin medicine in addition to lifestyle changes to control your LDL cholesterol level. Statin drugs lower LDL cholesterol by slowing down the liver’s production of cholesterol. They also increase the liver’s ability to remove LDL cholesterol that is already in the blood.
Valley Family Medicine Residency physicians recently published an analysis of studies about statin use and their potential effect on the progression of dementia. Here’s what they found:
No, statin use does not prevent progression of dementia
For patients at increased risk of dementia, moderate-intensity statin therapy (with pravastatin or simvastatin) won’t help prevent progression to dementia. Due to lack of studies, it is not yet known if high-intensity statin therapy helps reduce progression to dementia.
No, statin use does not improve those already with dementia
Patients who already have mild to moderately severe Alzheimer’s or vascular dementia won’t see any improvement in those conditions with moderate- or high-intensity statin therapy (with simvastatin or atorvastatin).
What about statins causing memory loss or confusion?
Although statin use is associated with rare, mild memory loss and/or confusion, those symptoms go away once the medication is stopped.
Lang T, Clifton j, Neher j, MD, Do statins alter the risk or progression of dementia? The Journal of Family Practice. 2018; 67(9): 578-579