Lipid-lowering medications are associated with memory loss in the first 30 days of pharmacologic treatment in research published in JAMA Internal Medicine, although this could be due to detection bias from increased patient contact with physicians.

Brian L. Strom, MD, MPH, of Rutgers University in Newark, NJ, and colleagues reviewed data from The Health Improvement Network (THIN) database of primary medical records from general practitioners in the United Kingdom to compare 482,543 statin users with 482,543 nonusers of any lipid-lowering drugs (LLDs) and 26,484 users of non-statin LLDs. Information on memory loss was gathered via diagnostic codes.

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An increased risk of memory loss during the 30 days following treatment initiation was observed in statin and non-statin LLD users compared to non-users of any LLDs. Although these results suggest that LLDs are linked to acute memory loss, the authors acknowledge that this may be due to detection bias; memory loss may be detected more in patients receiving preventative therapies because they are in greater contact with their physicians. Additional research is needed to control for this potential confounder.

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