Posted on Oct 22, 2013, 6 a.m.
Chronic treatment with the statin pravastatin has been shown to impair learning and object recognition in an animal study.
Research suggests that the commonly prescribed statin pravastatin may adversely affect cognitive function. Neil Marrion, Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Bristol's School of Physiology and Pharmacology, United Kingdom, and colleagues studied the effect of the commonly prescribed statins pravastatin and atorvostatin on learning and memory in rats. Results showed that pravastatin significantly impaired performance in simple learning and memory tasks, although the effect was fully reversible once treatment ended. No adverse cognitive effects were observed in rats treated with atorvastatin. The authors concluded: “Overall, these findings support clinical observations that statins have adverse cognitive effects in certain patients undergoing long-term treatment… All statins have been reported to potentially affect cognition and the whole class carry an FDA warning. Our data suggest that more detailed, pre-clinical studies to investigate different types of statins and cognitive function, including a wider range of doses of the drugs tested here, would be useful in determining the mechanisms involved and relative risks associated with different statin treatments.”
SA Stuart, JD Robertson, NV Marrion, ES Robinson. "Chronic pravastatin but not atorvastatin treatment impairs cognitive function in two rodent models of learning and memory." PLoS One. 2013;8:e75467.