Statins: More than Just Lowering Cholesterol?


HOUSTON, Texas (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Statins are often the first line of defense when battling high cholesterol. More than 200 million people around the world are taking a daily dose for their heart health. But did you know that statins may also be good for your brain?

Some call it the wonder drug. Not only can statins lower cholesterol levels, but they’re also known as a risk-reducer!

“Statins have had a remarkable impact on preventing and reducing the burden of heart disease, which is the number one cause of death in men and women,” says Baylor Scott & White Research Institute doctor, Dr. Anandita Agarwala Kulkarni.

(Read Full Interview)

But statins may have an impact on your brain health.

Dr. Kulkarni reassures, “We hope to find out whether taking a statin will be beneficial in older adults with regards to dementia.”

In the largest study of its kind, a nation-wide research team is enrolling 20,000 people for their Preventable study, to find out if taking Atorvastatin, also known as Lipitor, can help older adults live better, longer by preventing new dementia, new disability, and heart disease.

“Preventable is unique in that we’re targeting adults at or above the age of 75 years. We’re also focusing on an important metric, like cognitive function, that hasn’t systematically been assessed in this manner,” Dr. Kulkarni explains.

Participants will randomly be assigned to a statin or a placebo and then researchers will follow the patients for up to five years, testing their memory, thinking and physical abilities. The question they want answered, “Do people over 75, without heart disease, benefit from taking a statin?” The answer may impact how we all age in the future.

More than 100 centers are involved in the Preventable study. Much of the study will be conducted by phone and email, and through normal doctor’s visits and health records – even the medication will be delivered by mail. Any healthy adult at or above the age of 75 years can potentially participate in this study.

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Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer, Editor.

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REPORT:       MB #5057

STATIN BACKGROUND: The first statin, called lovastatin, was approved for commercial use in the United States on September 1, 1987. Since then, tens of millions of individuals have been treated with statins as therapy for the secondary and primary prevention of coronary atherosclerotic events, including cardiac death and myocardial infarction. Widespread application of statin therapy has been a major public health advance, especially when used in high doses for patients at highest cardiac risk.


IMPACTS OF STATINS: Someone who uses statins may feel soreness, tiredness, or weakness in their muscles. The pain can be a mild discomfort, or it can be severe enough to make your daily activities difficult. Researchers have found a “nocebo” effect when it comes to perceived muscle pain and statins. The actual risk of developing muscle pain because of taking statins is about 5 percent or less compared with taking a pill that doesn’t contain medication. Studies show that nearly 30 percent of people stopped taking the pills because of muscle aches even when they were taking a placebo. The difference between experiencing muscle aches when taking statins could be whether you read about the potential side effect. Very rarely, statins can cause life-threatening muscle damage called rhabdomyolysis, which can cause severe muscle pain, liver damage, kidney failure and death. The risk of very serious side effects is extremely low and result in only a few cases per million people taking statins.


NEW STUDY: A study, published in Jama Internal Medicine, found that the absolute risk reduction from taking statins was modest compared with the relative risk reduction. The relative risk reduction for those taking statins compared with those who did not was 9 percent for deaths, 29 percent for heart attacks and 14 percent for strokes. The absolute risk reduction of dying, having a heart attack or stroke was 0.8 percent, 1.3 percent and 0.4 percent overall.



Deke Jones

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Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Anandita Agarwala Kulkarni, MD

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