HealthDay News – Effectiveness of statin use in Alzheimer’s prevention may depend on the specific statin, and the gender and race or ethnicity of the patient, according to a study published online in JAMA Neurology.

Julie Zissimopoulos, PhD, of the Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and colleagues tracked 399,979 statin users, all aged 65 years or older, who took the medications between 2006 and 2013.

Overall, the researchers linked high use of statins to a 15% lower risk of Alzheimer’s in women and a 12% lower risk in men compared to those who had low use. Those who took simvastatin had 10% to 23% lower risk, depending on their gender and race. However, the researchers saw no benefit for black men. Among those who used atorvastatin the most, white men and black men had no apparent benefit, while the risk of Alzheimer’s was 16% to 39% lower for white women, black women, and Hispanics. Only white women appeared to gain a benefit from high usage of pravastatin and rosuvastatin, with about an 18% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

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“The reduction in Alzheimer’s disease risk varied across statin molecules, sex, and race/ethnicity. Clinical trials that include racial and ethnic groups need to confirm these findings,” the authors wrote. “Because statins may affect Alzheimer’s disease risk, physicians should consider which statin is prescribed to each patient.”


Zissimopoulos JM, Barthold D, Diaz Brinton R, et al. Sex and race differences in the association between statin use and the incidence of Alzheimer disease. JAMA Neurol. 2016 Dec 12. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2016.3783 [Epub ahead of print].