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Statins: Possible noncardiovascular benefits

Robert S Rosenson, MD
Section Editor
Mason W Freeman, MD
Deputy Editor
Gordon M Saperia, MD, FACC


Lipid lowering, at least with statins, is beneficial in patients with dyslipidemias for both primary and secondary prevention of coronary heart disease. (See "Clinical trials of cholesterol lowering for primary prevention of coronary heart disease" and "Clinical trials of cholesterol lowering in patients with cardiovascular disease or diabetes".)

In addition to cholesterol lowering and the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease, statin therapy may be associated with other benefits. Most of these other benefits have been found as associations in observational studies, rather than in randomized trials. As such, there is potential confounding and bias in that patients receiving better medical care, and those more adherent to medical therapy, may be more likely to be taking statins and also be at lower risk for certain noncardiovascular diseases.

Potential noncardiovascular benefits of statins are discussed here. Side effects and toxicities of statins are discussed separately. (See "Statins: Actions, side effects, and administration".)


Some observational studies have suggested that statins may decrease the risk of dementia and at least one small randomized trial has suggested that statins may slow the progression of dementia. (See "Prevention of dementia", section on 'Statins' and "Treatment of dementia", section on 'Risk factor control'.)


Some [1-4], but not all [5-9], observational studies have raised the possibility that use of statins may decrease overall risk of cancer and of specific cancers.


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Feb 9, 2016.
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