Prior medical conditions and the risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
BACKGROUND Use of statins has been associated with an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-like syndrome in 2 analyses of overlapping surveillance databases that record adverse events potentially related to prescription drug use. We assessed whether statin use is associated with the occurrence of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and other motor neuron disorders. METHODS AND RESULTS We conducted a population-based case-control study in Northern Denmark, with a population of 1.8 million. From the Danish National Registry of Patients, we identified incident cases coded with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or other motor neuron syndromes during the period from 1999 to 2008. We selected 10 population control subjects matched to cases on sex, birth year, and calendar time. Statin use was ascertained in the prescription database in the region--and so recorded before diagnosis--and associated with disease occurrence by conditional logistic regression adjusting for covariates. We identified 556 cases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or other motor neuron syndromes and 5560 population control subjects. The odds ratio associating disease occurrence with statin use was 0.96 (95% confidence interval, 0.73 to 1.28). Recent users of statins, former users, and users of short or long duration had similarly near-null associations. CONCLUSIONS Any risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis associated with statin use probably is small, so outweighed by the important clinical advantages of statin medications to prevent and treat cardiovascular diseases.