Statins as add on treatment may help reduce symptoms of depression, finds study
Statin supplementation may reduce depression, revealed the findings of a meta-analysis published in the Journal of affective disorder.
Statins are cholesterol-lowering drugs and they help in the reduction of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and risk of coronary artery disease in high-risk patients. They work by reducing cholesterol synthesis in the liver.
A meta-analysis of all double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials (RCT) conducted in subjects with depression, supplemented with statins showed that adjunctive treatment with statins could be useful for the treatment of depressive symptoms.
Depression is a common ailment associated with numerous chronic medical conditions such as coronary artery disease, hypertension, and diabetes. Statins are also effective in reducing inflammation. In epidemiological studies, statins appear to benefit mood, and there are now some randomized controlled trials examining the efficacy of statins. However, the role of statins in depression remains uncertain.
This meta-analysis sought to assess the effect of statins on depressive symptoms by performing a meta-analysis of all double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials (RCT) conducted in subjects with depression.
A systematic search was executed using PubMed and ClinicalTrials.gov on November 30th, 2015 for all double-blind, RCT of statins versus placebo in persons with depressive symptoms. Sixty-seven potential articles were identified through the search of electronic databases, of those three met inclusion criteria and were included in the meta-analysis. The outcome measure was changed in Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) scores associated with statin use. A meta-analysis was conducted and standardized mean differences (SMDs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated. GRADE was used to assess study quality.
- The three articles included provided data on 165 participants with moderate to severe depression.
- Of these, 82 were randomized to statins as an adjuvant therapy to antidepressant treatment (i.e., citalopram or fluoxetine) and 83 to the placebo arm.
- All studies were double-blind RCTs, with a follow-up of 6-12 weeks.
- The statin agents evaluated were lovastatin, atorvastatin, and simvastatin.
- When compared to placebo, statins, as an add-on to treatment as usual, largely improved depressive symptoms as assessed by the HDRS. No serious adverse effects were reported.
"Adjunctive treatment with statins could be useful for the treatment of depressive symptoms. Additional double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trials are necessary to settle the matter." the authors conclude.
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