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Do Statins Cause Brain Fog

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Do Statins Really Cause Memory Loss

Do Statins Really Cause Brain Fog?

In The Wall Street Journal in February;2008, Dr. Orli Etingin, vice chairman of medicine at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical Center, is quoted as saying that the statin drug Lipitor makes women stupid. Dr. Etingin was referring to several cases she has personally seen in which patients taking statins found themselves unable to concentrate, remember words, or otherwise experienced a cognitive deficit. The deficits went away when the statin was stopped, according to Dr. Etingin.

This was not the first time statins had been implicated in memory loss. Numerous anecdotal reports have claimed that taking statins can produce memory loss and cognitive decline;and that these problems may be subtle and insidious in onset.

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Why cholesterol drugs might affect memory

ONE DAY IN 1999, Duane Graveline, then a 68-year-old former NASA astronaut, returned home from his morning walk in Merritt Island, Fla., and could not remember where he was. His wife stepped outside, and he greeted her as a stranger. When Gravelines memory returned some six hours later in the hospital, he racked his brain to figure out what might have caused this terrifying bout of amnesia. Only one thing came to mind: he had recently started taking the statin drug Lipitor.

Cholesterol-lowering statins such as Lipitor, Crestor and Zocor are the most widely prescribed medications in the world, and they are credited with saving the lives of many heart disease patients. But recently a small number of users have voiced concerns that the drugs elicit unexpected cognitive side effects, such as memory loss, fuzzy thinking and learning difficulties. Hundreds of people have registered complaints with MedWatch, the U.S. Food and Drug Administrations adverse drug reaction database, but few studies have been done and the results are inconclusive. Nevertheless, many experts are starting to believe that a small percentage of the population is at risk, and they are calling for increased public awareness of the possible cognitive side effects of statinssymptoms that may be misdiagnosed as dementia in the aging patients who take them.


Statin Benefits In Preventing And Treating Dementia And Alzheimers Evidence For

Statins for the prevention and treatment of dementia began generating attention when two epidemiologic studies reported a lower risk of dementia in statin users . Since then, many medical professionals have investigated the potential beneficial effects of statins on long-term cognition and decreased incidence of cognitive related disease.

The protective effects of statins have been examined in a variety of reviews and meta-analysis . A meta-analysis that included observational studies and a randomized control study found a significant protective effect against all-cause dementia and Alzheimers disease with statin users . When compared to non-statin users, those who used statins had a significantly lower relative risk of developing all-type dementia .

Statin use was associated with significantly reduced risk of incident Alzheimers disease after adjustment for age, gender, education, and APOE genotype. A significant, but lesser, protective effect was found with non-statin lipid lowering agents conferring that the protective effect from statins may be due to their lipid lowering effects instead of potentially other novel mechanisms . However, most studies in the literature have found no association between non-statin lipid-lowering drugs and the risk of dementia .

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Where To Learn About Other Drugs That Affect Brain Function

Many other drugs that affect brain function, but they are either not used as often as the ones above, or seem to affect a minority of older adults.

Notably, there has been a lot of concern in the media about statins, but a meta-analysis published in 2015 could not confirm an association between statin use and increased cognitive impairment. In fact, a 2016 study found that statin use was associated with a lower risk of developing Alzheimers disease.

This is not to say that statins arent overprescribed or riskier than we used to think. And its also quite possible that some people do have their thinking affected by statins. But if you are trying to eliminate medications that dampen brain function, I would recommend you focus on the ones I listed above first.

For a comprehensive list of medications identified as risky by the experts at the American Geriatrics Society, be sure to review the 2019 Beers Criteria.

You can also learn more about medications that increase fall risk in this article: 10 Types of Medications to Review if Youre Concerned About Falling.

Can Statins Make You Stupid

Statins Tied to Memory Lapses, Low Energy, Other Side ...

One of the more controversial issues related to statin therapy has to do with a side effect commonly referred to as cognitive dysfunction. Some people call this brain fog. The CDC describes it this way: Cognitive impairment is when a person has trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating, or making decisions that affect their everyday life. This reader says that statins make you stupid. At least they made him stupid.;

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Do Statins Make You Poop

4.3/5causeabout it here

Statin side effects: Weigh the benefits and risks. While statins are highly effective and safe for most people, they have been linked to muscle pain, digestive problems and mental fuzziness in some people who take them and may rarely cause liver damage.

One may also ask, what is the best cholesterol medication with the least side effects? In the analysis of 135 previous studies, which included nearly 250,000 people combined, researchers found that the drugs simvastatin and pravastatin had the fewest side effects in this class of medications.

Herein, what is the side effects of cholesterol medicine?

Common side effects of cholesterol drugs include:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Muscle soreness, pain, or weakness.
  • Vomiting.
  • Dizziness.

Which statin is safest for liver?

Large randomized trials have proven the safety of low to moderate doses of lovastatin, pravastatin, simvastatin, atorvastatin, and rosuvastatin, showing no significantly increased risk of liver biochemistry abnormalities.

What To Do If You Have Brain Fog

Donât stop taking your medication without talking to the doctor first. They may choose to:

  • Stop your statin therapy
  • Switch you to another type of statin
  • Lower your dose

Rosenson says he may switch someone to a non-statin drug like ezetimibe. It works by absorbing the cholesterol in your intestine. Or he might try a PCSK9 inhibitor. Itâs a class of drugs that donât cross the blood-brain barrier. They break down LDL receptors and clear bad cholesterol from the bloodstream.

Currently, the FDA has approved two PCSK9 inhibitors for use. They are:

  • Alirocumab
  • Evolocumab

But Rosenson stresses that when it comes to statin therapy, the side effects like brain fog are rare and usually short-term. The pros often outweigh the cons, especially for people with high cholesterol or those at risk for:

âYou have to realize that there are not many drugs that can both reduce inflammation in the arteries and lower cholesterol,â he says. âSo, one has to think of the big picture and the extensive data.â

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Understanding How Statins Effect Your Brain

When you have high cholesterol or a higher risk of heart disease, your doctor prescribes statins to block the production of cholesterol or even reduce the amount that is built up in your artery walls over the years. The problem with statin drugs is that they address the cholesterol issue in a simplistic manner, by blocking the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase in your liver, which is needed to produce cholesterol, hormones, memory proteins and maintain cell energy.

The drug essentially reduces your total cholesterol number, without addressing specifically your high-density lipoproteins , low-density lipoproteins , very low-density lipoproteins or triglyceride levels. This impairs various bodily functions such as to build new cell walls, in formation of vitamin D and in production of hormones, where your body needs cholesterol.

In recent years, due to persistent direct-to-consumer advertising campaigns, statins have been accepted by people as the primary prevention of heart attacks and strokes. Many people do not have a clear understanding of statin side effects. However, indiscriminate use of statins can have harmful, covert side effects. In 2012, the US Food and Drug Administration announced additional warning labels for statins.

How Statin Drugs And Plant

Statins and Memory Problems- An Experiment!

    Where do you find the highest concentration of cholesterol in your whole body? In your brain. The brain is cholesterol-rich on purposebecause it needs large amounts of cholesterol to function properly. So, what does that mean for the growing number of people choosing naturally cholesterol-free plant-based diets? And what about the 15 million Americans who take statin medications like Lipitor to lower their cholesterol levels? People who are trying to lower their cholesterol levels are worried about heart health. But how does lowering cholesterol affect mental health?

    What is cholesterol?

    Poor cholesterolso misunderstood. Cholesterol is a waxy substance naturally embedded in our membranes, the flexible packaging surrounding every cell in our bodies. Cholesterol contributes structural firmness to membranes and keeps them from falling apart. Membranes are not simply protective cell wrappers; they are dynamic, highly intelligent structures that participate in cellular signaling and the transport of substances into and out of cells. Cholesterol is also an essential ingredient in vitamin D and many other hormones in the body, including estrogen and testosterone. All animal foods contain cholesterol because all animal cells need cholesterol.

    Why does the brain need cholesterol?

    Do vegans need to worry about low brain cholesterol?

    Does low blood cholesterol cause mental health problems?

    Do people who take statin drugs need to worry about low brain cholesterol?

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    Which Statin Causes Least Problems


    In the analysis of 135 previous studies, which included nearly 250,000 people combined, researchers found that the drugs simvastatin and pravastatin had the fewest side effects in this class of medications. They also found that lower doses produced fewer side effects in general.

    Similarly, which statin is best tolerated? Statins lower cholesterol levels through inhibition of HMG-CoA reductase. The synthetic and natural statins have essentially equivalent efficacy at improving the lipid profile. However, in patients who do not achieve their LDL goals, atorvastatin and simvastatin may be the best choices for initial therapy.

    Also to know, which statin is associated with the lowest risk of rhabdomyolysis?

    These can be especially useful in patients with symptoms or risk of myopathy. Pravastatin has been considered by many as the only safe statin with regard to myopathy. Evidence in the scientific literature, however, is actually stronger for fluvastatin as having the lowest myopathy risk.

    Is there an alternative to taking statins?

    If statins are not an option or you experience side effects, your doctor can prescribe a different drug to treat high cholesterol. A common alternative is a cholesterol absorption inhibitor. However, many doctors prescribe ezetimibe alone and combine it with a low-fat diet to help reduce cholesterol.

    Statins And Their Effect On Cognition

    Broadly speaking, cognition may be subdivided under 4 domains: executive function, memory, language and visuospatial ability. Cognitive impairment can therefore be defined as a decline from baseline in any of the 4 domains, sometimes overlapping one another. For an overview of some validated tests used to examine cognition, refer to .-

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    Could Statins Affect Memory

    A. Physicians have been debating the relationship between statins and cognitive function for decades. The FDA requires this statement for simvastatin:

    There have been rare postmarketing reports of cognitive impairment associated with statin use. These cognitive issues have been reported for all statins.

    The American Heart Associations Diet Is A Killer

    Statin Induced Brain Fog the FDA Finally Catches Up ...

    The landmark Lyon Diet Heart Study followed approximately 600 participants who were at extreme risk for heart attacks.

    They were overweight, sedentary, smoked, and had high cholesterol levels.

    Half were put on a Mediterranean diet and half were put on what was called a prudent Western-type diet recommended by the American Heart Association.

    The study was halted before it was completed.


    People on the Mediterranean diet were 45% less likely to die over the 4-year period than those on the prudent diet even though their cholesterol levels didnt budge.

    However, so many people on the American Heart Associations diet were dying that researchers felt it was unethical to continue putting study participants at risk.

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    What Is Statin Intolerance

    Unfortunately, statins have side effects that make them intolerant to 10 to 20 percent of individuals. These side effects fall into several main categories: adverse skeletal muscle complaints; memory or cognitive impairment; liver abnormalities; and allergic responses. In order to improve detection and accurate diagnosis of skeletal muscle adverse events, I served as one of three committee members for the first National Lipid Association task force on statin muscle complaints, and chairperson of the second task force. In our 2014 report, our major efforts were directed towards precise definitions of the different forms of muscle adverse events, the development of a scoring system to improve the accuracy of the diagnosis of muscle complaints, and provide guidance to health care professionals concerning the interactions of statins with other medications that may increase this risk of muscle injury and other conditions that make the muscles more at risk for muscle adverse events.

    Currently, I am working with collaborators at the University of Alabama Birmingham validating the clinical scoring system for diagnosis of adverse muscle complaints.


    Robert S. Rosenson, MD, is a Professor of Medicine at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Director of the Cardiometabolic Unit at The Mount Sinai Hospital.


  • Rosenson RS, Baker S, Jacobson T, Kopecky S, Parker B. An assessment of statin muscle safety task force: 2014 update. J Clin Lipidol 2014;8:S58-71.
  • Other Readers Say Statins Make You Stupid:

    Katy experienced brain fog on simvastatin:

    Simvastatin wrecked my cognitive ability, causing memory loss, an inability to process or remember numbers. I also experienced brief episodes of lost time. It scared the hell out of me, given that my mother came down with early dementia. I am in my early 60s now.

    I discontinued the medication about a month ago after getting my doctors okay. Its gotten a little better, but I am still experiencing some pretty severe side effects. It scares me. Im going to screw up big time on my job if I cant find a way to get my memory and full cognitive ability back soon.

    Patty had concerns about her brain while taking a different statin:

    I finally stopped rosuvastatin after many years of statin use. For the first time in a long time, I feel more clearheaded than I have for years. My fasting blood sugar has been steadily rising for the past several years, and then I read about the link to type 2 diabetes and statin use. That mobilized me.

    Winnifred is afraid statins make you stupid, or more specifically, made her stupid:

    Here is Pats story about statins and brain fog:

    To learn more about statin side effects in general and cognitive problems in particular, you may wish to read our book, Top Screwups. It is available in the bookstore at

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    How Could Statins Do Both

    Considering the evidence presented above, it is conceivable that statins can contribute to both reversible cognitive impairment as well as preservation of cognition through the prevention of dementia. If statins have both of these effects, there are a variety of possible explanations as to how this is occurring. The various physiological effects statins have on the body can explain how they can cause a myriad of different outcomes.

    The Link Between Increased Statin Use And The Dementia Epidemic

    Cholesterol Meds DOUBLE Your Dementia Risk (Protect Your Brain!) 2021

    As noted by the organization Be Brain Fit , there has been a massive increase in the number of Americans taking statin drugs like Crestor and Lipitor in recent years. At the same time, there has been an astronomical increase in the number of people experiencing memory loss, dementia and Alzheimers disease, which is now the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. BBF suggests that these two statistics may be no coincidence.

    People are generally only told about the link between cholesterol and heart disease, but cholesterol also has incredibly important functions in the body. It is found in particularly high concentrations in the brain, with more than 60 percent of this important organ consisting of fat. The brain uses cholesterol to manufacture neurotransmitters, the chemicals which enable brain cells to communicate with each other. Neurotransmitters are also responsible for regulating mood, as well as facilitating focus and the ability to remember things, learn new things and cope with stress.

    When normal neurotransmitter activity is disrupted, psychiatric disorders and nervous system diseases can be triggered.

    For this reason, doctors admit that high cholesterol levels help prevent dementia in the elderly but will not admit the inverse: that low cholesterol levels can be linked to an increased risk of Alzheimers and other forms of dementia.

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    Managing Cognitive Impairment As A Side Effect

    Despite most of the data showing no impairment in cognition associated with statins, the Statin Cognitive Safety Task Force recommends a series of steps, based on expert opinion, to perform should a patient report cognitive impairment after initiation of therapy. It recommends cognitive testing, looking at other potential contributors such as anticholinergic medications and performing a risk assessment of stopping or decreasing the dose vs continuing the statin. Statins have robust evidence supporting their use in secondary prevention of cardiovascular events. It is therefore of utmost importance to discuss with the patient the risks of stopping or continuing the statin. If it is suspected that the statin is contributing to the symptoms, a drug-free period of 1 to 2 months is recommended prior to a rechallenge. Expert opinion suggests a switch to a less lipophilic statin, such as rosuvastatin or pravastatin, to limit drug entry into the central nervous system and diminish the effects on cognition.

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