High Potency Statin Drugs Prevent Dementia in Older People, Study


Statins, the most common drug prescribed to prevent cholesterol, heart attacks and strokes, can help prevent dementia in older people when administered in high doses, according to research presented at the ESC Congress by Dr. Tin-Tse Lin from Taiwan.

They also found that high doses of statins, particularly high potency statins, had the strongest effects against dementia.

"Statins are widely used in the older population to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. But recent reports of statin-associated cognitive impairment have led the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to list statin-induced cognitive changes, especially for the older population, in its safety communications," Lin said.

"Previous studies had considered statin therapy to exert a beneficial effect on dementia. But few large-scale studies have focused on the impact of statins on new-onset, non-vascular dementia in the geriatric population."

Researchers arrived at the conclusion after studying 57,669 patients, aged 65 and above, who had no history of dementia in 1997 and 1998. The number of patients was taken from a random sample of 1 million people covered by Taiwan's National Health Insurance. They were observed over a period of four years.

Through the course of the study, there were only 5,516 diagnoses of dementia. They also found that people who took high doses of statin drugs had lower risk of developing dementia.

"The adjusted risks for dementia were significantly inversely associated with increased total or daily equivalent statin dosage. Patients who received the highest total equivalent doses of statins had a 3-fold decrease in the risk of developing dementia. Similar results were found with the daily equivalent statin dosage."

"It was the potency of the statins rather than their solubility (lipophilic or hydrophilic) which was a major determinant in reducing dementia. High potency statins such as atorvastatin and rosuvastatin showed a significant inverse association with developing dementia in a dose-response manner. Higher doses of high potency statins gave the strongest protective effects against dementia."

"The results were consistent when analysing daily doses of different kinds of statins. Almost all the statins (except lovastatin) decreased the risk for new onset dementia when taken at higher daily doses. A high mean daily dosage of lovastatin was positively associated with the development of dementia, possibly because lovastatin is a lipophilic statin while the anti-inflammatory cholesterol lowering effect of lovastatin is not comparable to that of atorvastatin and simvastatin."

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