Statins are widely prescribed. Side effects as well as benefits of statins have recently been a focus of hot debate. Low serum cholesterol has been associated with antisocial personality, violent behaviour, suicide, and aggressive conduct. Depression is also considered as a possible consequence of statins. Although many studies have reported benefits of statin in depression , negative associations have also been reported.
Do statins increase the risk of depression?
Ajay K. Parsaik et al report the results of a comprehensive meta analysis answering this question in this article. They included all comparative studies of any design . Newcastle–Ottawa Scale was used to assess quality of non randomised studies .From initial search yield of 979 articles only 7 were included in the final analysis. Analysis thus had a total of 9187 participants. Mean age of participants were 64+ -5 years.
Overall pooled OR for depression among statins users was 0.68 (95% confidence interval 0.52–0.89) indicating protective effect of statins against depression. Modest heterogeneity was observed between the studies ( 55% of difference between study results were due to true differences rather than chance/random).Exclusion of one particular study contributing to this did not change the pooled effect much.
Limitations: Adjustment for confounders varied across the studies. All studies used different scales for reporting depression.
How statin might work? Ability to reduce oxidative stress and inflammatory cytokines may be the basis of this association.
Conclusions: Statin users are less likely to be depressed.statins have a protective effect on depression.
Summary of the article:
Parsaik AK, Singh B, Hassan Murad M, Singh K, Mascarenhas SS, Williams MD, Lapid MI, Richardson JW, West CP, Rummans TA.
J Affect Disord. 2014 May;160:62-7