The newsletter of the Memory Disorders Project at Rutgers University

What are Statin Drugs

Statins are a class of drugs that are commonly prescribed to reduce cholesterol in individuals with high levels of LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol, as well as some patients with coronary heart disease, diabetes, or a history of stroke. 

Common statins include Lipitor (the trade name for the drug atorvastatin), Zocor (the trade name for the drug simvastatin), and Crestor (the trade name for the drug rosuvastatin).

In recent years, there have been some studies suggesting that high cholesterol raises the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, perhaps because cholesterol increases the accumulation of beta amyloid, a sticky protein that accumulates in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s.

Statins prevent heart disease

Some studies have found that individuals who take statins to prevent heart disease may be less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease later in life, but other studies have found no such benefit. There is also some preliminary evidence that statins may help slow mental decline in patients who already have Alzheimer’s.

Further Reading: The Statin Solution

by Catherine E. Myers, Copyright © 2006 Memory Loss and the Brain