Statin use and risk of depression: a Swedish national cohort study

Cassie Redlich, Michael Berk, Lana J. Williams, Jan Sundquist, Kristina Sundquist, Xinjun Li

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Background: Statin medications, used to prevent heart disease by reducing cholesterol, also reduce inflammation and protect against oxidative damage. As inflammation and oxidative stress occur in depression, there is interest in their potential to reduce depression risk. We investigated whether use of statin medications was associated with a change in the risk of developing depression in a very large Swedish national cohort (n = 4,607,990). Methods: National register data for adults >= 40yr was analyzed to obtain information about depression diagnoses and prescriptions of statin medications between 2006 and 2008. Associations were tested using logistic regression. Results: Use of any statin was shown to reduce the odds of depression by 8% compared to individuals not using statin medications (OR = 0.92, 95% CI, 0.89-0.96; p < 0.001). Simvastatin had a protective effect (OR = 0.93, 95% CI, 0.89-0.97; p = 0.001), whereas atorvastatin was associated with increased risk of depression (OR = 1.11, 95% CI, 1.01-1.22; p = 0.032). There was a stepwise decrease in odds ratio with increasing age (OR >= 40 years = 0.95, OR >= 50 years = 0.91, OR >= 60 years = 0.85, OR >= 70 years = 0.81). Conclusions: The use of any statin was associated with a reduction in risk of depression in individuals over the age of 40. Clarification of the strength of these protective effects, the clinical relevance of these effects and determination of which statins are most effective is needed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number348
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Psychiatry


  • Statins
  • Atorvastatin
  • Simvastatin
  • Depression
  • Aetiology
  • Inflammation
  • Oxidative stress


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