Memory Loss From Statins Likely A Myth

Published on December 1st, 2015

Statins, drugs like Lipitor and Lescol that work to lower cholesterol, have often been associated with the side effect of memory loss. Although previous medical reports and studies have also made this connection, most findings have been inconsistent and studies of long-term statin use have found either improvement in memory or no effect. A new long-term study published in JAMA Internal Medicine suggests little to no association between statin use and memory loss.

The report examines whether or not statin users experience memory impairment when compared to nonusers and users of nonstatin cholesterol lowering drugs. Researchers compared 482,543 statin users with the same number of nonusers and with 26,484 people using nonstatins. To account for confounding variables, the study excluded patients with previous memory loss disease (i.e. Alzheimer’s, dimentia) and focused mainly on new cholesterol lowering drug users.

The investigation ultimately found all cholesterol lowering drugs, statin or nonstatin, were associated with memory loss but only in the first thirty days following initial exposure—those involved in the study who did not consume cholesterol lowering drugs experienced no memory problems, comparatively. Therefore, the rumored association between statin drugs exclusively and memory loss may not exist. Either all cholesterol lowering drugs cause some memory loss or memory impairment experienced by statin users is an illusion.

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