Statins are a commonly prescribed drug used to lower cholesterol. Previous studies have also suggested that statins could offer protective properties against Parkinson’s disease, but the latest findings suggest the opposite. Researchers uncovered that there may be a slightly heightened risk for Parkinson’s disease among statin users—but it does not prove that statins cause Parkinson’s disease.
Older studies have suggested that people with high cholesterol had lower rates of Parkinson’s disease, so researchers turned their attention to cholesterol-lowering statins as a risk factor for Parkinson’s.
To date, research on the topic has yielded mixed results. Some research found a link between statins and Parkinson’s disease risk where others found no connection at all.
New study links statin use with risk of Parkinson’s disease
For the latest study, researchers examined medical records from 4,600 American adults—with or without Parkinson’s disease. They found that statin users had a higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
When the researchers divulged deeper into the results, they found that certain statins had a stronger link to Parkinson’s disease than others. Statins that were fat-soluble as opposed to water-soluble were tied to a higher risk for Parkinson’s disease.
The findings are interesting because fat-soluble medications can cross the blood-brain barrier. Statins that are fat-soluble include atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), and simvastatin (Zocor).
The researchers stressed that just because they found a link between statins and Parkinson’s disease does not mean there’s a cause-and-effect relationship. Patients should not stop using their prescribed statins on a whim because of these findings. You should always speak to your doctor first before stopping any medication.
Statins are an important medication because they help lower cholesterol. High cholesterol has been linked to numerous health problems including heart attack and stroke.
As mentioned, other studies have linked high cholesterol to a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease, but that link is still vague. Additional research is required to better understand the connection. As mentioned, living with high cholesterol is deadly on its own, so you should try and keep levels in a healthy range.
If you’re concerned about your risk of Parkinson’s, you should speak to your doctor about your risk factors.