I have read a number of articles lately about statins and Parkinson's.
As many doctors are recommending them for all patients over 50, could it be worth asking for them to be prescribed?
It seems there would be few if any risks and possible benefits.
Any thoughts, Research?
Here's an excerpt.....
Simvastatin as an Anti-Inflammatory and Neuroprotective Agent in Parkinson's Disease
Groundbreaking research suggests that the cholesterol lowering drug simvastatin may provide powerful neuroprotection in Parkinson's disease. A little known fact among the public is that statin drugs do more than simply lower cholesterol, they are also anti-inflammatory agents. In fact, many researchers believe that some of the cardiovascular benefits are due to their anti-inflammatory properties (Quist-Paulsen 2010).
Simvastatin is efficient at crossing the blood-brain barrier, and it has been shown to exert potent anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective action in the dopaminergic tract (Roy 2011; Yan 2011).
In animal models, simvastatin was shown to attenuate the neurotoxicity of MPTP. In fact, simvastatin accumulated in the nigra and suppressed microglial activation, leading to reduced expression of inflammatory cytokines and increased dopaminergic neuroprotection (Ghosh 2009). Another animal experiment found that simvastatin was able to completely reverse the decline in dopamine receptors associate with exposure to the neurotoxin 6-hydroxydopamine (Wang 2005).
In a large human clinical study involving over 700,000 subjects, use of simvastatin was associated with a 49% reduction in the likelihood of onset of Parkinon's symptoms, as well as a 54% reduction in the risk of dementia, suggesting a substantial neuroprotective effect (Wolozin 2007).
Due to the emergence of strong evidence that simvastatin may have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective actions, Life Extension encourages those Parkinson's disease patients taking a cholesterol-lowering medication to talk with their doctor about switching to simvastatin. Even those whose cholesterol is not significantly elevated may benefit from low-dose simvastatin – those not taking cholesterol-lowering medication should discuss this with their doctor.
Importantly, those taking any statin drug should be aware that statins deplete coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) levels. If taking statins, supplement with CoQ10 and ensure maintenance of healthy CoQ10 blood levels by periodically having a CoQ10 blood test.

A very interesting article. Thank you for the info, Golden Girl.

Just wondering if Research has had had a chance to look at this?

As there is no profit in it for drug companies I doubt if any of them will pursue any further research.


Hi goldengirl,

A number of studies have shown that some types of statins might reduce the risk of developing Parkinson's and may even help protect brain cells.

Statins, like all drugs, have considerable benefits for certain conditions, but also side effects (such as reducing the levels of coenzyme Q10).

At the moment we don’t have sufficient evidence to weigh up the potential benefits against risks. Indeed, because Parkinson’s is a complicated condition where many different factors contribute, there may be risks for people with Parkinson’s that we don’t yet know about. And we advise that people with Parkinson's shouldn't consider starting to take statins unless this is recommended by their doctor.

Studies are only just starting to work out exactly how statins act inside the brain to protect the nerve cells that die when Parkinson's develops. Recent finding suggest that they may have anti-inflammatory properties, although much of the research is limited to animal studies. 

There are still many unanswered questions about the use of statins and their role in helping to stop Parkinson's developing.

The clinical trial from 2007 gives us hope that this research could help develop new treatments for Parkinson's that can slow or even prevent the condition. Although long term follow up studies for those taking statins is still needed.

It's too soon to say whether these results could lead to a potential breakthrough in the use of statins to manage or reduce the risk of Parkinson's. But, whilst drug companies may not be interested, other researchers are still interested in the role of statins in Parkinson’s.

We will keep an eye out for any developments in this area.

All the best,

The Research Team

Thank you, Research!

I will keep an eye on this with interest.

I sent the article to our Parkinson's Nurse and she is going to discuss it with her team.

Anything that gives hope for neuro protection lifts our spirits!