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3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors, commonly referred to as statins, are widely used in the treatment of dyslipidaemia, in addition to providing primary and secondary prevention against cardiovascular disease and stroke. Statins’ effects on the central nervous system (CNS), particularly on cognition and neurological disorders such as stroke and multiple sclerosis, have received increasing attention in recent years, both within the scientific community and in the media. Current understanding of statins’ effects is limited by a lack of mechanism-based studies, as well as the assumption that all statins have the same pharmacological effect in the central nervous system. This review aims to provide an updated discussion on the molecular mechanisms contributing to statins’ possible effects on cognitive function, neurodegenerative disease, and various neurological disorders such as stroke, epilepsy, depression and CNS cancers. Additionally, the pharmacokinetic differences between statins and how these may result in statin-specific neurological effects are also discussed.
This document has been peer reviewed.