Sex and Race Differences in the Association Between Statin Use and the Incidence of Alzheimer Disease

Julie M. Zissimopoulos, Douglas Barthold, Roberta Diaz Brinton, and Geoffrey Joyce find that high statin use was associated with a 12.5 percent lower incidence of Alzheimer disease (AD) in male and 14.6 percent lower incidence of AD in female Medicare patients relative to individuals with low statin use during the same time period. High statin use was defined as an individual who was within at least the 50th percentile of filled prescription days over two years. The association between AD incidence and statin use varied across sex, race/ethnicity, and statin type. For example, Simvastatin was associated with declined incidences among white men and women, Hispanic men and women, and black women. Among black men, high statin use was not associated with a statistically significant reduction in AD risk. The authors used claims data from 2006 to 2013 from a 20 percent sample of Medicare beneficiaries to compare high and low statin use across the four most common statin types with diagnoses of AD. These findings highlight the potential opportunity to decrease AD risk relatively inexpensively, as well as the need for more research into the relationship between statins and the mechanisms affecting AD.

The full study is available at JAMA NeurologyThe press release for the study is available here.

Citation: Zissimopoulos, J. M., Barthold, D., Brinton, R. D., & Joyce, G. (2017). Sex and race differences in the association between statin use and the incidence of Alzheimer disease. JAMA neurology74(2), 225-232.