The association has been suspected for some time, and last year America’s drug regulator, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) ordered statin manufacturers to list among the drug’s side effects memory loss and impaired cognitive functioning.
The warning was the result of thousands of ‘anecdotal’ reports from patients and doctors who noticed an almost immediate effect on memory and mental capabilities once a statin prescription was started.
These case reports have now been verified by scientists at Bristol University, who tested the impact of two common statins—Pravachol (pravastatin) and Lipitor (atorvostatin)—on laboratory rats. Within 18 days, the rats’ simple leaning and memory functions had been badly affected, especially among those on Pravachol.
Memory and cognitive functions were quickly restored once the statins were withdrawn.
(Source: PLoS ONE, 2013; 8: e75467).