Statins are a class of drugs that can lower your cholesterol. A new study has revealed that the cholesterol-lowering drugs most likely do not cause short-term memory loss.
Lead study author Brian L. Strom of Rutgers University said, "Limited previous studies and some statin-drug takers have anecdotally reported memory lapses after taking popular lipid-lowering drugs (LLDs) called statins. The result has been that some people have stopped taking their statins, inappropriately."
The research team compared new users of statins with people not taking statins. New statin users also were compared to a second control group, patients taking non-statin LLDs, which had not been done in earlier studies. The study found that more patients taking statins indeed reported memory loss in the 30-day period after first taking the drugs, compared to non-users. The same finding, however, was observed with the non-statin LLDs.
Strom said, "Either it means that anything that lowers cholesterol has the same effect on short-term memory, which is not scientifically credible because you're dealing with drugs with completely different structures. Detection bias is more likely the reason, meaning patients taking a new drug visit their doctors more frequently and are highly attuned to their health. When patients are put on statins or any new drug, they're seen more often by their doctor or they themselves are paying attention to whether anything is wrong. So if they have a memory problem, they're going to notice it. Even if it has nothing to do with the drug, they're going to blame it on the drug. People who have high cholesterol should be on statins, which include atorvastatin, cerivastatin, fluvastatin, pravastatin and simvastatin, while nonstatin LLDs include cholestyramine, colestipol hydrochloride, colesevelam, clofibrate and gemfibrozil, are a very effective therapy, which is very safe."
The study is published in The Journal of the American Medical Association-Internal Medicine.