Statins are among the most widely-used medications worldwide. They are usually given to treat common diseases of the heart and blood vessels.
An observational study, led by the University of Oxford, used electronic health records of 673,177 people with a new diagnosis of depression, registered with primary care on QResearch. The “real-world” sample including patients with several comorbidities and taking many other medications.
The study showed that people taking a statin and an antidepressant, compared to an antidepressant alone, had fewer antidepressant discontinuations due to any cause and due to adverse events, therefore better antidepressants’ acceptability and tolerability. However, no effect on depressive symptoms was seen.
Dr Riccardo De Giorgi, study author and Clinical Lecturer in General Adult Psychiatry, University of Oxford, said:
The idea that using a statin at the same time of an antidepressant might boost people’s concordance with treatment is appealing: statins are safe medications, while we know that stopping an antidepressant during the first year of treatment has a high likelihood of depressive relapse."