Statin use and the risk of incident dementia: The Cardiovascular Health Study

Thomas D. Rea, John C. Breitner, Bruce M. Psaty, Annette L. Fitzpatrick, Oscar L. Lopez, Anne B. Newman, William R. Hazzard, Peter P. Zandi, Gregory L. Burke, Constantine G. Lyketsos, Charles Bernick, Lewis H. Kuller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Statins (3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors) reduce cardiovascular risk through mechanisms that might affect the development of dementia. Objective: To evaluate whether statin use is associated with a lower risk of dementia compared with never use of lipid-lowering agents (LLAs). Design: Cohort study of community-dwelling adults 65 years and older. The analysis included 2798 participants free of dementia at baseline. Main Outcome Measures: Using Cox proportional hazards regression analysis, we estimated the risk of incident all-cause and type-specific dementia associated with time-dependent statin therapy compared with never use of LLAs. The primary analyses incorporated a 1-year lag between exposure and outcome. Secondary analyses included the final year of exposure and modeled statin use as current use vs nonuse to simulate a case-control approach. Results: Compared with never use of LLAs, ever use of statins was not associated with the risk of all-cause dementia (multivariable-adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 1.08; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.77-1.52), Alzheimer disease alone (HR, 1.21; 95% CI, 0.76-1.91), mixed Alzheimer disease and vascular dementia (HR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.44-1.72), or vascular dementia alone (HR, 1.36; 95% CI, 0.61-3.06). In contrast, in secondary analyses, current use of statins compared with nonuse of LLAs was associated with HRs of 0.69 (95% CI, 0.46-1.02) for all-cause dementia and 0.56 (95% CI, 0.35-0.92) for any Alzheimer disease. Conclusions: In this cohort study, statin therapy was not associated with a decreased risk of dementia. Methodological differences may explain why results of this cohort investigation differ from those of prior case-control studies. Additional investigation is needed to determine whether and for whom statin use may affect dementia risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1047-1051
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of neurology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Neurology


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