Statin therapy in Alzheimer's disease.

Research paper by D L DL Sparks, M M Sabbagh, D D Connor, H H Soares, J J Lopez, G G Stankovic, S S Johnson-Traver, C C Ziolkowski, P P Browne

Indexed on: 27 Jul '06Published on: 27 Jul '06Published in: Acta neurologica Scandinavica. Supplementum


Previous studies have suggested that statin therapy may be of benefit in treating Alzheimer's disease (AD). We initiated a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized (1:1) trial with a 1-year exposure to once-daily atorvastatin calcium (80 mg; two 40 mg tablets) or placebo among individuals with mild-to-moderate AD [Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score of 12-28]. Stable dose use of cholinesterase inhibitors, estrogen and vitamin E was allowed, as was the use of most other medications in the treatment of co-morbidities. We demonstrated that atorvastatin treatment produced significantly (P = 0.003) improved performance on cognition and memory after 6 months of treatment (ADAS-cog) among patients with mild-to-moderate AD. This superior effect persisted at 1 year (P = 0.055). This positive effect on the ADAS-cog performance after 6 months of treatment was more prominent among individuals entering the trial with higher MMSE scores (P = 0.054). Benefit on other clinical measures was identified in the atorvastatin-treated population compared with placebo. Accordingly, atorvastatin therapy may be of benefit in the treatment of mild-to-moderately affected AD patients, but the level of benefit produced may be predicated on earlier treatment. Evidence also suggests that atorvastatin may slow the progression of mild-to-moderate AD, thereby prolonging the quality of an afflicted individual's life.