Risk of Parkinson’s Disease Slightly Reduced By Use of Statin

March 31, 2012 § Leave a comment

According to a study issued in March’s edition of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA Archives journals, the regular use of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs might modestly reduce the risk of the development of Parkinson’s disease.

Statins are one of the most commonly issued classes of drugs in the United States. Many researchers think the anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating effects of statins might be neuroprotective. But they also have adverse effects on lowering the level of plasma coenzyme Q10, which may be neuroprotective in Parkinson’s patients.

Xiang Gao, M.D., Ph.D., of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, and colleagues embarked upon a probable study that included 38,192 men and 90,874 women participating in the Health Professional Follow-up study and the Nurses’ Health study.

During the follow up, from 1994-2006, the researchers documented 644 occurrences (388 in women and 306 in men.)

The researchers explained, “In summary, we observed an association between regular use of statins and lower risk of developing PD, particularly among younger patients. However, our results should be interpreted with caution because only approximately 70 percent of users of cholesterol-lowering drugs at baseline were actual statin users. Further, the results were only marginally significant and could be due to chance.”

The researchers found that, because they had previously classified the use of any cholesterol-lowering drugs before 2000 as “statin use,” some misclassification occurred. They also failed to collect information on the use of each specific statin, each of which could have different effects on the central nervous system.

However, the researchers did observe a noteworthy interface between statin usage and age concerning PD risk. It was recognized in those study participants below the age of 60 at the start of the follow-up, but not among those older than 60.

Authors also wrote that these epidemiologic studies result in mixed outcomes regarding statin use and PD risk, and also noted that statins might have adverse effects on the central nervous system.

Authors concluded, “In contrast with use of ibuprofen, which has been consistently found to be inversely associated with PD risk in these cohorts as well as in other longitudinal studies, the overall epidemiological evidence relating stain use to PD risk remains unconvincing. Given the potential adverse effects of statins, further prospective observational studies are needed to explore the potential effects of different subtypes of statin on risk of PD and other neurodegenerative diseases.”


“Statin Use Appears Associated with Modest Reduction in Parkinson Disease Risk”. (March 12, 2012). Neuroscience News. March 18, 2012. http://neurosciencenews.com/ statin-use-reduction-parkinson-disease-risk/.


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