Randomised placebo controlled trial of effect on mood of lowering cholesterol concentration
Wardle J., Armitage J., Collins R., Wallendszus K., Keech A., Lawson A.
Objective - To evaluate the effects on mood of a substantial and prolonged reduction in total cholesterol concentration. Design - Randomised placebo controlled comparison of patients who had been allocated to receive simvastatin 20 mg or 40 mg daily versus those allocated matching placebo in a ratio of 2:1. Follow up at an average of 152 weeks after randomisation. Subjects - Men and women aged between 40 and 75 years at entry with blood total cholesterol of 3.5 mmol/l or greater, who were considered to be at higher than average risk of coronary heart disease based on medical history. Main outcome measures - The shortened profile of mood states questionnaire, reported use of psychotropic medication, and symptoms possibly related to mood. Results - Simvastatin reduced total cholesterol by 1.9 mmol/l (26.7%) at the time of follow up. Among all 621 patients randomised to simvastatin (414 patients) or placebo (207 patients) there were no significant differences in the use of psychotropic medication or in reports of symptoms possibly related to mood. Of these patients, 491 (334 simvastatin, 157 placebo) completed the mood questionnaire, and there were no significant differences between the treatment groups in total or subscale scores, even when patients with low baseline cholesterol concentrations or elderly subjects were considered separately. Conclusion - These results do not support the hypothesis that treatment to lower cholesterol concentration causes mood disturbance.