Effects of statin use on muscle strength, cognition, and depressive symptoms in older adults

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2007 Mar;55(3):420-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2007.01071.x.


Objectives: To determine the relationship between hydroxymethyl glutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitor (statin) use and proximal muscle strength, cognition, and depression in older adults.

Design: Observational cohort study.

Setting: Outpatient primary care clinics.

Participants: Seven hundred fifty-six community-dwelling veterans aged 65 and older.

Measurements: Timed chair stands (a measure of proximal muscle strength), Trail Making Test Part B (a measure of cognition), and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale score were measured at baseline and 1-year follow-up. Participants were assessed for statin prescriptions (and indications for or contraindications to their use), concomitant medication use, comorbidities, and other potential confounders.

Results: Statin users (n=315) took a mean 6.6 medications, versus 4.6 for nonusers (n=441), and had a median duration of statin use of 727 days. Statin users were more likely to be white and had (as expected) more cardiac, cerebrovascular, and peripheral vascular disease. Based on multivariable models adjusting for pertinent covariates, statin users performed modestly better than nonusers for timed chair stands (-0.5 seconds; P=.04), Trail Making Test Part B (-7.7 seconds; P=.08), and depression scores (-0.2 points; P=.49) at follow-up. Of potentially high-risk participants (based on age, comorbidity, and number of medications), statin users also showed similar 1-year changes as nonusers, although worsened depression scores were found in those with greater comorbidity (+0.88 points; P=.10).

Conclusion: Older, community-dwelling male participants taking maintenance statin therapy had similar outcomes to those of nonusers in tests of muscle strength, cognition, and depression, but further examination of benefits and harms in different subgroups is warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Connecticut
  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Drug Utilization / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / drug effects*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Primary Health Care
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Veterans* / statistics & numerical data


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors