Could taking a commonly used heart medication prevent dementia?

For years, doctors have looked for treatments to prevent memory loss or dementia in patients. Some studies suggest drugs that lower cholesterol, also called statins, may help prevent dementia. But more information is needed to understand the role and benefits of statins for older adults.

A study called PREVENTABLE is enrolling participants now to gather this information on statins. The study will test if taking atorvastatin, also called Lipitor®, can help prevent dementia in adults aged 75.

PREVENTABLE is one of the largest studies in older adults. It will include more than 20,000 participants across the United States. The study is designed to make participation easy for older adults, especially in a pandemic.  Participants can join the study at home by phone or a video call. Follow ups can occur by phone, health records, or home visits. Participants will receive the study drug by mail.

“Patients often ask me what they can do to stay healthy, prevent dementia, and maintain independence.” said Karen Alexander, MD, a cardiologist at Duke University Medical Center and principal investigator for the study.

About one in three of people in the U.S. over the age 75 without heart disease take statins. “Very few people start a statin after age 75 because we don’t have any proof that this drug improves the health of older adults,” said Alexander. “Results from PREVENTABLE will provide that evidence and help us understand if it makes sense to start a stain after the age of 75 to prevent dementia.”

PREVENTABLE researchers are partnering with the Alzheimer’s Association to make this study opportunity available to adults interested in advancing research on dementia. By participating in studies such as PREVENTABLE, you can help doctors learn if taking a statin can prevent dementia. Without the participation of people like you in studies, finding a cure is nearly impossible.

Watch this video to learn why this study is important. To find out if your doctor or health system is participating in PREVENTABLE, visit

If you are a University Hospitals patient, you can contact the research team at or call 216-286-2212 or 216-286-7250.

PREVENTABLE is funded by the National Institute of Aging and the National Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health under award number U19AG065188.