- Statins improve depressive symptoms particularly in patients with major depression and do not worsen depression in non-depressed individuals.
Why this matters
- Previous studies on the effects of statins in people with and without depressive symptoms have reported conflicting results with studies reporting both an increase and decrease in depressive symptoms.
- Meta-analysis of 10 studies, involving 2517 participants who received statin (n=1348) and placebo (n=1169), identified after a search across MEDLINE, EMBASE and PsychINFO databases.
- Primary outcome: mean difference in depression rating scores between the statin and placebo groups.
- Funding: None.
- In random effects analysis, a significant reduction was observed in depression rating scores in statin vs placebo group (standardised mean difference [SMD], −0.309; 95% CI, −0.525 to −0.094; P=.005).
- In sub-group analysis:
- In depressed population, depressive symptoms significantly reduced in the statin group compared with that in the placebo group (SMD, −0.796; 95% CI, −1.107 to −0.486; P=.0001).
- In non-depressed population, the statin vs placebo group had a greater reduction in depressive symptoms; however, the difference was not statistically significant (SMD, −0.153; 95% CI, −0.353 to 0.047; P=.13).
- High heterogeneity among studies.
- Risk of bias.
- Study used different rating scales and questionnaires to assess depressive symptoms.