brainI hear from patients that they have concerns that statins (cholesterol lowering medication like Lipitor, Zocor, etc…) can cause memory loss and that they have read this in the paper.  This question has been raised at times and the information is mixed.

On one hand, as a strong medication to prevent stroke, it is thought cholesterol-lowering medication should reduce cognitive decline by prevent strokes and microstrokes and thus preventing multiple brain injuries that could increase the likelihood of dementia.

On the other hand, cholesterol is an important component of all cells, and in particular the cells of the CNS (central nervous system….read brain) and by interfering with normal cholesterol production, they may cause unanticipated injury to these cells and impair memory.

Enter the latest ‘meta analysis’…a study of various studies, that shows no evidence of cognitive decline with statins.   In a revew of 25 different studies, they found no issues of significant memory loss and this data is considered reassuring to those of us (myself included) on statin medication.

Although this is reassuring, more data will be forthcoming and we will keep an eye on this topic as it is of keen interest.  For now, I think we can feel confident in the ongoing safety of these widely used medications.

The study in Annals of Internal Medicine