Are statins effective in improving depressive symptoms?

  • Yatham MS & al.
  • J Affect Disord
  • 2 Jul 2019

  • curated by Sarfaroj Khan
  • UK Clinical Digest
Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals. Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals.

Takeaway

  • 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.

Study design

  • 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.

Key results

  • 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).

Limitations

  • High heterogeneity among studies.
  • Risk of bias.
  • Study used different rating scales and questionnaires to assess depressive symptoms.