Harvard Men's Health Watch

Review finds no sign of memory loss from statins

The best-quality evidence available does not prove that taking a statin can cause memory loss or other changes in mental functioning, according to a review in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Since 2012, the FDA has required that statin manufacturers include a warning on drug packaging that statins could impair mental functioning, but this has been controversial. Researchers took a look at the published evidence for possible mental side effects of statins.

The new review covered randomized clinical trials involving nearly 47,000 people. Such trials are the gold standard in medical research. These included 23 trials in which researchers explicitly measured mental functioning, as well as trials that kept track of mental changes reported by participants.

The review found no clear evidence that statins were causing these kinds of problems. Some of the reports of memory loss by participants may be just coincidences, meaning that people who were taking statins noticed memory problems that had nothing to do with the statin.

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