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Statins Linked with Lower Depression Risk in Heart Disease Patients

Posted Feb 24 2012 5:47pm

Patients with heart disease who took cholesterol-lowering statins were significantly less likely to develop depression than those who did not, in a study by Mary Whooley, MD, a physician at the San Francisco VA Medical Center (SFVAMC) and a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

Whooley and her research team evaluated 965 heart disease patients for depression, and found that the patients who were on statins were significantly less likely to be clinically depressed than those who were not. They then followed the 776 patients who were not depressed – 520 who were using statins and 256 who were not – for an additional six years. Of those taking statins, 18.5 percent developed depression, compared with 28 percent of those not on the drugs. Put another way, the patients who took statins were 38 percent less likely to develop depression than patients who did not.

As the study went on, said Whooley, the difference between the two groups became more pronounced, with the patients on statins becoming less likely to develop depression and the patients not on statins becoming more likely to become depressed over time.

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