Washington: a new research, which suggests that drugs for high cholesterol or statins don't really impair memory and cognitive function, has cast doubts on the cautionary stance taken by the US Food and Drug Agency (FDA).
Researchers question whether there is substance to FDA's recent warning that statins could affect the memory, attention span and other cognitive abilities of people who take this drug to control high cholesterol.
Since 2012, the FDA regulates that labels on statin packaging should warn that the drugs could change users' cognitive abilities. These cognitive changes could include attention span, problem solving, memory, and language or visuospatial abilities. The warning was based on surveillance and case reports, observational studies and randomized trials.
The review found no significant effect of statin use on the mental capacity of people with normal brain functioning or even those with Alzheimers' disease. The results suggest that the FDA's statin warning should be re-evaluated.
Researcher Brian R. Ott believes that there is a need to investigate the reasons behind the differences in the review results and the initial reports on which the FDA warning was based. It could be that some of the mental changes that were reported in the case studies were the result of overdosing with statins.
The researchers believe that there is more benefit to be had by sticking to statin therapy to manage heart-related diseases and prevent strokes than worrying about the possible adverse mental effects of these drugs.
Ott concluded that they found no significant effects of statin treatment on cognition and given these results, it is questionable whether the FDA class warning about potential cognitive adverse effects of statins is still warranted.
The study is published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.