Association between statin use and Bell's palsy: a population-based study

Drug Saf. 2014 Sep;37(9):735-42. doi: 10.1007/s40264-014-0212-5.


Background: Several reports mention that statin (HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor) use seems to be associated with several neurologic disorders and that the lipid-lowering effect of statins may contribute to some neural toxicity.

Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the association between statin use and Bell's palsy using a population-based health insurance database.

Methods: This case-control study identified 1,977 subjects with Bell's palsy as cases and 5,931 sex- and age-matched subjects without Bell's palsy as controls from the Taiwan Longitudinal Health Insurance Database 2000. Conditional logistic regressions was used to estimate the odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) for previous use of statins between the cases and controls. The associations of regular and irregular statin users with Bell's palsy were further analyzed.

Results: By Chi-square test, there was a significant difference in the prevalence of statin use between cases and controls (23.2 vs. 16.4%, p < 0.001). Conditional logistic regression analysis revealed that after adjusting for diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia, the OR for prior statin use was 1.47 (95% CI 1.28-1.69) for cases compared with controls. Bell's palsy was significantly associated with previous regular statin use (≥60 days within 6 months) (adjusted OR: 1.46, 95% CI 1.28-1.67). However, there was no increased adjusted OR of irregular statin use (<60 days within 6 months) for cases compared with controls (OR: 1.09, 95% CI 0.82-1.46).

Conclusions: Our present data suggest a potential association between regular statin use and Bell's palsy.

MeSH terms

  • Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting Systems
  • Bell Palsy / epidemiology*
  • Bell Palsy / etiology
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance
  • Taiwan / epidemiology


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors