Can Statin Use Reduce Alzheimer's Disease Incidence?

Medical and pharmacy claims of Medicare beneficiaries were examined to compare Alzheimer's diagnosis
Medical and pharmacy claims of Medicare beneficiaries were examined to compare Alzheimer's diagnosis

A new analysis has found an association between statin exposure and Alzheimer's disease diagnosis among both women and men.

Researchers at USC, Los Angeles and UA, Tucson examined the medical and pharmacy claims of a 20% sample of Medicare beneficiaries from 2006 to 2013 to compare the rate of Alzheimer's disease diagnosis among statin users.

A total of 399,979 participants were included in the study. The results demonstrate a lower risk of Alzheimer's diagnosis for women (HR, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.82-0.89; P<0.001) and men (HR, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.83-0.93; P<0.001) with high exposure to statins. 

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Simvastatin use was tied to a lower Alzheimer's risk for white women (P<0.001), white men (P=0.02), Hispanic women (P=0.04), Hispanic men (P=0.01), and black women (P=0.005). Atorvastatin was associated with a reduced risk of incident Alzheimer disease diagnosis for white women (HR, 0.84, 95% CI, 0.78–0.89), black women (HR, 0.081, 95% CI, 0.67–0.98), and Hispanic men (HR, 0.61, 95% CI, 0.42–0.89) and women (HR, 0.76, 95% CI, 0.60–0.97).

Pravastatin and rosuvastatin were associated with reduced Alzheimer disease risk exclusively in white women (HR, 0.82, 95% CI, 0.70–0.95 and HR, 0.81, 95% CI, 0.67–0.98, respectively). The only race/ethnic group and sex that did not demonstrate a lower Alzheimer's risk with high statin exposure was black men.

The authors concluded that given the varied risk reductions across statins in relation to race/ethnicity and sex, future clinical trials including racial and ethnic groups should confirm the findings of this study. Additionally, as statins were shown to affect Alzheimer disease risk, physicians should consider which statin is prescribed to which patient.

For more information visit JAMAneurology.com.

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