By Megan Brooks
NEW YORK—Patients with dementia who take statins have a reduced risk of stroke and longer survival compared with those who don't take the drugs, according to a large observational study from Sweden.
"Survival in patients in dementia is variable, and previous studies have identified many factors associated with survival and risk of stroke in these patients. However, the effect of statins on these two outcomes is not clear," commented Dr. Bojana Petek from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm in a news release from the 5th European Academy of Neurology Congress in Oslo where the study was presented July 1.
Dr. Petek and colleagues analyzed the association between statin use and risk of death and first ischemic stroke in more than 44,000 Swedish patients with dementia from the Swedish Dementia Registry between 2008-2015.
They found that ever-use of a statin was associated with a 22% lower risk of dying from any cause compared to matched non-users (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.78; 95% confidence interval, 0.74 to 0.83).
Statin use was also significantly linked with the risk of ischemic stroke (aHR, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.64 to 0.93). Past studies have shown that stroke is three times more likely in patients with mild dementia and seven times more likely in those with severe dementia (http://bit.ly/2XLusnH).
Stratified analyses showed statin use was linked to reductions in mortality in patients younger than age 75 (aHR 0.73; 95 % CI, 0.62 to 0.86), in those with vascular dementia (aHR 0.71; 95% CI, 0.63 to 0.80) and in men (aHR 0.74; 95% CI 0.68 to 0.81).
"This is a cohort study, so we can only demonstrate an association between statin use and survival and stroke risk, not necessarily a causal relationship," Dr. Petek cautioned in an email to Reuters Health. "For now, we can say these results are encouraging and suggest that dementia patients also benefit from statins, like other aging groups of patients."
Estimates from the Alzheimer's Association suggest that roughly 44 million people worldwide are currently living with Alzheimer's disease or a related form of dementia. In the United States, an estimated 5.5 million people of all ages have Alzheimer's disease, while in Europe, dementia affects roughly 10 million people. These numbers are predicted to skyrocket due to the aging of the population (https://alzheimersnewstoday.com/alzheimers-disease-statistics/).
European Academy of Neurology Congress 2019.
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