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Table 1 Key characteristics of included studies.

From: The impact of statins on psychological wellbeing: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Lead author, year, reference Study design Agent/dosage Sample Measure Presentation of results Key finding
Muldoon 2000 [28] Double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial Lovastatin (20 mg)/placebo 209 generally healthy adults with LDL cholesterol level of 160 mg/dl or higher were randomized (complete data: drug, n = 98; placebo, n = 96) Hamilton Depression Rating Scale; NEO-Depression Means and SDs 24-week treatment of hypercholesterolemia with lovastatin did not cause psychological distress
Wardle 1996 [23] Randomized, placebo-controlled trial Simvastatin 20 mg or 40 mg daily/placebo 621 individuals greater higher than average risk of CHD based on medical history (total cholesterol of ≥3.5 mmol/l) were randomized (complete data: drug, n = 334; placebo, n = 157) Shortened profile of Mood States Questionnaire Medians and IQRs 152 weeks of cholesterol-lowering treatment did not cause mood disturbance
Hyyppa 2003c Two separate randomizations, Double-blind, crossover design Simvastatin 20 mg/day plus dietary intervention/placebo 120 hypercholesterolemic but otherwise healthy middle-aged men (complete data: drug, n = 60; placebo, n = 60) Brief Symptom Inventory Mean difference in change scores between groups, SEM 12 weeks of simvastatin resulted in a statistically significant increase in depression
Harrison 1994 [24] Randomized, crossover design Sequential placebo, pravastatin 40 mg day/simvastatin 40 mg day, in separate 4-week treatment phases 25 healthy volunteers (17 male, 8 female), average age 23.8 years. Drug, n = 25/n = 25; placebo, n = 25. HADS score for pravastatin was 1.5 (0.6 to 2.4). HADS, BDI (baseline only) Means and CIs No association between simvastatin and depression or anxiety at 4 weeks
Gengo 1995 [25] Randomized, cross over design Placebo, lovastatin (40 mg), and pravastatin (40 mg) for 4 weeks 36 patients between the ages of 40 and 60 years with moderate hypercholesterolemia. Drug, n = 24/n = 24; placebo, n = 24. Mood scores for pravastatin 4.8 (6.5). Profile of Mood States (fatigue/inertia) Means and SDs After 4 weeks, no statistically significant differences between lovastatin in changes from baseline were observed on any parameter
Stewart 2000 [26] Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial Pravastatin sodium (40 mg/day) for 4 years 1130 with stable CAD. Drug, n = 559; placebo, n = 571. General Health Questionnaire (depression and anxiety domains) Means and SDs After 4 years no significant increases in self-reported depression, anxiety
Morales 2006 [27] Randomized, placebo-controlled trial Simvastatin up to 20 mg/day or placebo for 15 weeks 80 older volunteers, average age 70 years, with high normal/mildly elevated serum cholesterol (placebo, n = 39; drug completers, n = 33) Center for Epidemiology Studies Depression Scale Mean and SDs After 3 months, drug group reported decrease in positive affect