Statins may decrease aggression in men and increase it in women! – Study

Statins are cholesterol lowering medications being used very widely for reducing heart attacks and stroke risks as well as in the treatment of these conditions. Some earlier studies had indicated a relation between low or lowered cholesterol values and aggression. A study from the University of California published in PLOS ONE, a leading open access journal, has thrown some light on this aspect. Curiously, the study has suggested that treatment with statins may reduce aggression in men while it may increase it in women after menopause. Both these changes were noted in those with a lower baseline level of aggressive behaviour.

Reduction in aggression was more likely in younger men aged below forty years, with low baseline aggression with no recent aggressive behaviour at the time of enrollment in the study. The difference has been linked to sleep problems and drop in testosterone levels. Sleep problem has been linked more to simvastatin, one of the earlier statins to come into clinical use. It may be noted that this study was active during the period 2000-2005 and two earlier generation statins – simvastatin and pravastatin were used. We are not sure whether same would apply for the newer statins like atorvastatin and rosuvastatin which are more popular in current day usage.

As mentioned earlier, statins tended to increase aggression in postmenopausal women, that too, more in those with a lower baseline aggression.

Though experimental studies earlier had indicated a relationship between aggression and levels of serotonin in blood, this study did not document any significant relation between blood serotonin level and aggression.