Observations from a large Swedish cohort study have indicated that patients with dementia who have been prescribed statins have a reduced risk of stroke and longer survival compared with those who have not.

“Survival in patients in dementia is variable, and previous studies have identified many factors associated with survival and risk of stroke in these patients. However, the effect of statins on these two outcomes is not clear,” commented Dr. Bojana Petek from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm in a news release from the 5th European Academy of Neurology Congress in Oslo, Norway, where the study was presented last week.

Dr. Petek and colleagues analyzed the association between statin use and risk of death and first ischemic stroke in more than 44,000 Swedish patients with dementia from the Swedish Dementia Registry between 2008 and 2015.

They found that ever-use of a statin was associated with a 22% lower risk of dying from any cause compared to matched non-users (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 0.78; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.74 to 0.83).

Statin use was also significantly linked with the risk of ischemic stroke (aHR, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.64 to 0.93). Past studies have shown that stroke is three times more likely in patients with mild dementia and seven times more likely in those with severe dementia.

Stratified analyses showed statin use was linked to reductions in mortality in patients younger than age 75 (aHR 0.73; 95 % CI, 0.62 to 0.86), in those with vascular dementia (aHR 0.71; 95% CI, 0.63 to 0.80), and in men (aHR 0.74; 95% CI, 0.68 to 0.81).

“This is a cohort study, so we can only demonstrate an association between statin use and survival and stroke risk, not necessarily a causal relationship,” Dr. Petek cautioned in an email to Reuters Health.

“For now, we can say these results are encouraging and suggest that dementia patients also benefit from statins, like other aging groups of patients.”

SOURCE: https://www.mdlinx.com/internal-medicine/top-medical-news/article/2019/07/08/7571734/

REFERENCE:  Statins, risk of death and stroke in patients with dementia – a registry-based study. Petek B, Villa-Lopez M, Winblad B, Kramberger MG, von Euler M, Xu H, Eriksdotter M, Garcia-Ptacek S, presented at the 5th Congress of International Neurology in Oslo.  http://bit.ly/2KGNzJa