exist Wall Street Journal In February 2008, Dr. Orli Etingin, vice president of medicine at New York-Presbyterian Hospital at Weill Cornell Medical Center, was quoted as saying that the statin Lipitor “makes women stupid.” Dr. Etingin cites several cases she has seen firsthand in which patients taking statins found themselves unable to concentrate, remember words, or develop cognitive deficits. According to Dr. Etingin, the deficits disappeared when statins were discontinued.
This isn’t the first time statins have been linked to memory loss. Numerous anecdotal reports claim that taking statins can lead to memory loss and cognitive decline, and that these problems can be subtle and insidious during flare-ups.
Statins are a class of prescription drugs used to treat high cholesterol. High cholesterol increases the risk of vascular disease, stroke and heart attack. Statins, which benefit many people, have known side effects and drug interactions.
Statins may not benefit some older adults
In response to such allegations, investigators scrutinized the medical literature and published their findings in Annals of Internal Medicine year 2013. These investigators found no link between statins and psychiatric problems.
However, they also acknowledged that none of the major randomized trials of statins have systematically looks Cognitive decline, which is said to be subtle when associated with statins. Therefore, they concluded that a clear statement cannot be made in one way or another.
Further research continues to investigate possible relationships.
- A large multicenter study publishing results in 2020 does not support an association between statin use and dementia development, but suggests a possible link between statin use and cognitive changes in early mild cognitive impairment association. Additional randomized trials may be needed, the researchers said.
- Recent data from the ASPREE trial on statins and dementia, published in June 2021, suggest that statin use does not increase the risk of dementia and cognitive decline. The researchers said their findings await confirmation from ongoing randomized trials.
Currently, it has not been demonstrated whether statins cause cognitive difficulties. To fully demonstrate this, a prospective randomized trial aimed at investigating the neurocognitive effects of statins is needed.
waiting for more research
While we wait for more research, how should practitioners and patients respond to the possibility that statins sometimes develop memory deficits?
First, keep in mind that even though statins do turn out to be causing the problem, the incidence seems to be low, and apparently the problem is said to be reversible—it seems to go away if statins are stopped.
Second, if you or a loved one is taking a statin and notice some cognitive changes, bring it to the attention of the prescribing doctor right away.
Finally, don’t stop taking your statin without talking to your doctor.
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