Long-term statin use and psychological well-being

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2003 Aug 20;42(4):690-7. doi: 10.1016/s0735-1097(03)00785-x.


Objectives: We sought to study the effect of long-term statin use on psychometric measures in an adult population with underlying coronary artery disease (CAD).

Background: Previous studies have suggested associations between cholesterol lowering and psychological well-being.

Methods: Study subjects were recruited from an outpatient cardiology clinic. Psychological well-being was assessed at baseline and annually during follow-up. The exposure of interest was long-term statin use and the outcomes of interest were depression, anxiety, and hostility. We estimated the odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) that represented the strength of association between statin use (vs. no use of any cholesterol-lowering drug) and the risk of having abnormal depression, anxiety, and hostility scores.

Results: Study subjects had an average follow-up of four years and maximum of seven years. Comparing the 140 patients who had continuous use of statins with the 231 patients who did not use any cholesterol-lowering drugs, statin use was associated with lower risk of abnormal depression scores (OR 0.63, 95% CI 0.43 to 0.93), anxiety (OR 0.69, 95% CI 0.47 to 0.99), and hostility (OR 0.77, 95% CI 0.58 to 0.93) after adjustment for the propensity for statin use and potential confounders. The beneficial psychological effects of the statins appeared to be independent of the drugs' cholesterol-lowering effects.

Conclusions: Long-term use of statins among patients with CAD appeared to be associated with reduced risk of anxiety, depression, and hostility.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / prevention & control
  • Cohort Studies
  • Coronary Artery Disease / drug therapy*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / psychology
  • Depression / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Hostility
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychometrics / methods
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors