A small percentage of statin users have reported that they experienced memory loss, forgetfulness, and confusion while taking the medication. There are a wide variety of side effects of statins, however, the general consensus among physicians is that the benefits outweigh the risks of statin prescriptions.
Degrees of Cognitive Impairment
Studies seem to focus on the differing properties of statins. According to Journal of Pharmacovigilance Examination of the FDA Warning for Statins and Cognitive Dysfunction (Sept 2004) : “Statins can be classified as having greater lipophilic or hydrophilic solubility properties with lipophilic statins more readily crossing the blood brain barrier, and possibly differentially inducing detrimental cognitive effects…Highly lipophilic statins with specific pharmacokinetic properties (atorvastatin, simvastatin) appear to confer a significantly greater risk of adverse cognitive effects compared to other lipophilic statins and those with hydrophilic solubility properties.”
Another study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine Do Statins Impair Cognition? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials (Mar 2015), found the opposite effect. Statin therapy was not associated with cognitive impairment in RCTs (randomized clinical trials). These results raise questions regarding the continued merit of the FDA warning about potential adverse effects of statins on cognition.
Whatever the conclusions of investigators, it is true that memory adverse events have been reported to the FDA. While the percentage of people affected is likely small, it is an effect that may be serious to the patient experiencing memory loss and result in non-compliance.
Understand Your Risk for Side Effects with the Rxight® Genetic Test
There are many statins on the market, implying that memory side effects may be lessened by reducing the dose of the statin, or changing the statin that you take. This trial and error approach to prescribing medicines may become a thing of the past with the emerging field of pharmacogenetics. Pharmacogenetics research demonstrated that among the population, there are many genetic variants of genes involved in drug metabolism or related activities such as drug transport and drug targeting.
How Does Pharmacogenetic Testing Work?
The Rxight® pharmacogenetic testing from MD Labs is a state-of-the-art platform that determines your drug metabolism genetics for you and your physician over the lifetime of your association with that physician. This test not only determines your genetic variations with respect to statin metabolism, but with respect to over 200 drugs on the market. You could talk with your physician any time you need a new medication to check your genetic status in regards to that drug. In time, tools such as the Rxight® pharmacogenetics test from MD Labs, will become common and the era of trial and error prescribing will cease to exist.