Atorvastatin for the treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer disease: preliminary results.

TitleAtorvastatin for the treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer disease: preliminary results.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsD Sparks L, Sabbagh MN, Connor DJ, Lopez J, Launer LJ, Browne P, Wasser D, Johnson-Traver S, Lochhead J, Ziolwolski C
JournalArch Neurol
Date Published2005 May
KeywordsAged, Aged, 80 and over, Alzheimer Disease, Anticholesteremic Agents, Atorvastatin Calcium, Cholesterol, Double-Blind Method, Female, Heptanoic Acids, Humans, Male, Mental Status Schedule, Neuropsychological Tests, Placebos, Pyrroles, Treatment Outcome

BACKGROUND: Laboratory evidence of cholesterol-induced production of amyloid beta as a putative neurotoxin precipitating Alzheimer disease, along with epidemiological evidence, suggests that cholesterol-lowering statin drugs may favorably influence the progression of the disorder.

OBJECTIVE: To determine if treatment with atorvastatin calcium affects the cognitive and/or behavioral decline in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer disease.

DESIGN: Pilot intention-to-treat, proof-of-concept, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized (1:1) trial with a 1-year exposure to once-daily atorvastatin calcium (80 mg; two 40-mg tablets) or placebo using last observation carried forward analysis of covariance as the primary method of statistical assessment.

PARTICIPANTS: Individuals with mild to moderate Alzheimer disease (Mini-Mental State Examination score of 12-28) were recruited. Of the 98 participants providing informed consent, 71 were eligible for randomization, 67 were randomized, and 63 subjects completed the 3-month visit and were considered evaluable.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome measures were change in Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-cognitive subscale and the Clinical Global Impression of Change Scale scores. The secondary outcome measures included scores on the Mini-Mental State Examination, Geriatric Depression Scale, the Neuropsychiatric Inventory Scale, and the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study-Activities of Daily Living Inventory. The tertiary outcome measures included total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels.

RESULTS: Atorvastatin reduced circulating cholesterol levels and produced a positive signal on each of the clinical outcome measures compared with placebo. This beneficial effect reached significance for the Geriatric Depression Scale and the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-cognitive subscale at 6 months and was significant at the level of a trend for the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-cognitive subscale, Clinical Global Impression of Change Scale, and Neuropsychiatric Inventory Scale at 12 months assessed by analysis of covariance with last observation carried forward.

CONCLUSION: Atorvastatin treatment may be of some clinical benefit and could be established as an effective therapy for Alzheimer disease if the current findings are substantiated by a much larger multicenter trial.

Alternate JournalArch. Neurol.
PubMed ID15883262
Faculty Member Reference: 
Jeffrey J. Lochhead, PhD