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There are quite a few real life incidents that have grabbed the headlines in recent times which suggest that statins and memory loss are linked. Recent reports convey that the degree of memory loss associated with statins dosage varies from forgetting a memorized short poem to inability to identify the spouse.
Some patients put on statins actually experienced frequent episodes of amnesia on a daily basis. The recurring bouts of amnesia made them difficult to complete sentences while talking as they were unable to recall everyday words. Not recognizing friends and even the house in which they had lived for years are some other incidents that have happened with people put on these cholesterol lowering drugs. These disturbances in memory, referred to as amnesia can last for up to 12 hours.
Reports suggest that all these impaired memory signs occurred within 2 months after starting the statin dosage and in some cases, this unwanted effect was reported in just a week’s time. No wonder, some call these cholesterol medications, a memory stealer that can keep a person in a state of confusion for a few hours. Moreover, these memory loss problems vanished as soon as the prescribed drug was discontinued.
Doctors believe that the link between these cholesterol drugs and memory loss in women and men may be the nutrient Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). CoQ10 (a vitamin like substance) synthesis takes place in the body but with intake of prescription drug statin, the production of CoQ10 may also reduce gradually. This is because, the synthesis of cholesterol and CoQ10 is dependent on mevalonate (a substance produced in the liver). Statins suppress the production of mevalonate, thereby restricting the synthesis of both cholesterol and CoQ10. Although this helps to lower cholesterol, the decrease in CoQ10 levels may contribute to memory loss. In such cases, taking CoQ10 supplements (after consulting a doctor) may allow the person to recover from memory loss.
The Verdict
There is no denying the fact that people taking these cholesterol medicines develop memory problems. However, the percentage of men and women experiencing forgetfulness due to statins is small, although in recent years the cases of memory dysfunction from statin dosage are rising. Cholesterol lowering effect of statin is based on scientific evidence but its associated side effect (impaired memory) that is being increasingly reported recently warrants for another alternative to control high cholesterol. Of course, it is up to the patient to decide whether he is comfortable taking the medicine. As it is not a common side effect, every patient advised to take statins is unlikely to experience memory loss. In fact, a large population depending upon these cholesterol drugs seem to be unaware of this problem.
A point to note here is that managing cholesterol effectively at the cost of memory dysfunction is unacceptable. Although, statins cause short-term memory loss, this side effect, cannot be ignored. Patients experiencing memory loss and disturbances in cognitive function after taking statin regularly, need to immediately discontinue the medicine and hunt for other alternatives. Opting for natural remedies for high cholesterol can be a healthier alternative to artificial medicines.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.