Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Alzheimer's Disease Health Center

Font Size

Statins Fight Alzheimer's Disease

Cholesterol Drugs Reduce Dangerous Substances in the Brain
WebMD Health News

April 21, 2003 -- Cholesterol-lowering statin drugs could help prevent Alzheimer's disease, new research shows.

Preliminary findings of this potential new treatment appear in the April issue of the Archives of Neurology.

In the study, a group of Texas researchers build on previous research showing that statins used to treat cholesterol imbalances have reduced the risk of Alzheimer's disease. However, little has been known about the mechanism through which this happens.

This group of researchers speculates that statins lower the amount of cholesterol byproducts and dangerous proteins in the brain that are thought to contribute to Alzheimer's disease. Recent studies have indicated that blood levels of these substances are higher in people with Alzheimer's disease and that these levels could be an indication of brain cell death.

In their study, the Texas researchers examined the effects of three statin drugs and another lipid-lowering drug (niacin) on blood levels of cholesterol and these proteins in patients with Alzheimer's disease who had had no history of heart disease.

During the six-week study, 44 patients took one drug -- either a statin or niacin. Their blood was measured at the start, periodically throughout the study, and at the end.

Those taking statins had 21% lower levels of the cholesterol byproduct and 25% lower total cholesterol, reports Gloria Lena Vega, PhD, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Those taking niacin only had 10% reduced levels of the cholesterol byproduct.

Further studies are needed to determine if long-term statin therapy would slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease, writes Vega.

Today on WebMD

Remember your finger
When it’s more than just forgetfulness.
senior man with serious expression
Which kinds are treatable?
senior man
Common symptoms to look for.
mri scan of human brain
Can drinking red wine reverse the disease?
eating blueberries
Colored mri of brain
Close up of elderly couple holding hands
mature woman
Woman comforting ailing mother
Senior woman with serious expression