Statin Benefits Beyond Heart Disease Risk: Not Enough Evidence


The therapeutic effects of statin drugs to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death from heart disease are well-known and widely accepted, and some research has suggested that these commonly used medications may have other uses — for certain types of cancer, neurological conditions, and kidney disease, for example.

In a comprehensive analysis of 256 studies investigating the potential benefits of statins for 278 non-cardiovascular conditions, researchers at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom determined that there’s not enough evidence that statins can improve kidney function or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease or cancer, or to change current guidelines for prescribing statins.

According to the American Heart Associations, statins are recommended for:

  • Adults 40-75 with an LDL cholesterol level of 70-189 mg/dL and a 7.5 percent or higher risk for having a heart attack or stroke within 10 years
  • People with a history of heart attack, stroke, angina, peripheral artery disease (PAD), transient ischemic attack (TIA), or arterial revascularization
  • People over 21 with an LDL cholesterol level of 190 mg/dL or higher
  • People 40-75 with diabetes and an LDL cholesterol level of 70-189 mg/dL

Sourced from: Annals of Internal Medicine