Vol. 10, No. 2, 2004 Page 7


Statin drugs, which lower cholesterol, may also cause extreme irritability in some individuals, according to a new study.

Beatrice Golomb et al. asked six patients who complained of irritability and short temper on statin drugs to complete a survey on the type and course of their symptoms.

"In each case," the researchers report, "the personality disruption, once evident, was sustained until statin use was discontinued, and resolved promptly with drug cessation." Four patients who resumed taking the drugs experienced a return of symptoms. "Manifestations of severe irritability included homicidal impulses, threats to others, road rage, generation of fear in family members, and damage to property," Golomb et al. say.

The findings are consistent with earlier research showing a link between low cholesterol and aggressive behavior (see related article, Crime Times, 2001, Vol. 7, No. 3, Page 7), possibly because low cholesterol levels can lead to reduced activity of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Reduced serotonin activity, in turn, can cause depression or violent behavior.


Severe irritability associated with statin cholesterol-lowering drugs," B. A. Golomb, T. Kane, and J. E. Dimsdale, QJM, Volume 97, Number 4, April 2004, 229-35. Address: Beatrice Golomb, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, California 92093.

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