Statin Therapy as a Precision Prevention Approach for Neurodegenerative Diseases

statin therapy treatment, pills
statin therapy treatment, pills
In a retrospective analysis, researchers assessed the effect of statin therapy on the incidence of Alzheimer disease and other age-related neurodegenerative diseases (NDD), and whether its effect on NND risk varies among molecules, sex, or age groups.

The following article is part of conference coverage from the 2022 American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting. Neurology Advisor’s staff will be reporting breaking news associated with research conducted by leading experts in neurology. Check back for the latest news from the 2022 AAN Annual Meeting.


The use of statin therapy is associated with a decreased risk for neurodegenerative diseases (NDDs), particularly among men, according to a retrospective analysis presented at the 2022 American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting, held from April 2 to April 7 in Seattle, Washington, and virtually from April 24-26, 2022.

Prior studies have demonstrated a link between the use of statins and a reduced risk for Alzheimer disease (AD). Realizing that the identification of features of responders compared with nonresponders is key to the precision therapeutic use of statins, the researchers sought to explore the effect of statin therapy on the incidence of AD and other age-related NDDs, including non-AD dementia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Additionally, they investigated whether the effects of statins on risk for NDDs varied among molecules, sex, or age-groups.

The researchers used US-based Mariner insurance claims dataset of 53 million patients. All patients were propensity score–matched according to age, gender, geographic region, comorbidities, and Charlson comorbidity index (CCI) score for assignment to a group. Their records were examined for a diagnosis of NDD 1 year following statin exposure, with the use of survival analysis.

A total of 1,293,952 patients fulfilled study inclusion criteria (i.e., aged less than 45 years, no previous history of NDD prior to statin use, and claims enrolled for 6 months prior to and 3 years following the use of statins). Of these 1,293,952 individuals, 646,976 had statin exposure and were matched with 646,976 control individuals without statin exposure.

Study results showed that the use of statins was associated with a significantly decreased risk for AD (relative risk, 0.54; 95% CI, 0.52 to 0.57; P <.001), as well as for other NDDs. A difference between the genders was apparent, with men exhibiting a greater risk reduction than women—driven by the use of atorvastatin and simvastatin. The nonresponders, who were mainly female, had an overall higher incidence of comorbidities. In contrast, the responders had a higher incidence of asthma and obesity.

The researchers concluded that the “Characterization of responders to statin therapy advances a precision prevention approach, in which prescription guidelines are adapted for at-risk populations regarding neurological health.”

Disclosure: None of the study authors has declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies.  


Torrandell Haro G, Branigan G, Rodgers K, Diaz Brinton R. Statin responder analysis for precision prevention of neurological diseases. Presented at: the 2022 AAN Annual Meeting; April 2-7, 2022; Seattle, Washington; April 24-26, 2022; Virtual Meeting. Abstract S15.010.