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Statin Effect on Cholesterol Levels, Stroke Risk Analyzed

Study finds reduction in stroke risk proportional to lowering of cholesterol

TUESDAY, Jan. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Statin treatment is associated with a lower risk of stroke, with the reduction in stroke risk proportional to the reduction in cholesterol, according to a study in the Jan. 19 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Raffaele De Caterina, M.D., from "G. d'Annunzio" University in Chieti, Italy, and colleagues identified and performed a meta-analysis of 78 randomized clinical trials that examined the effect of cholesterol-lowering treatments on stroke (49 trials investigated statins), involving 266,973 patients with a mean follow-up of 3.5 years.

The researchers found that, overall, treatment significantly reduced the risk of stroke (odds ratio, 0.88), but had no effect on fatal stroke. Only statin treatment was associated with a significantly lower risk of total stroke (odds ratio, 0.85). The reduction in stroke risk was proportional to the reduction in total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, with a 1 percent total cholesterol reduction reducing the relative risk of stroke by 0.8 percent.

"Among cholesterol-lowering treatments, statins are the most effective at decreasing the risk of total stroke, but their benefit is proportional to the percent reduction of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol," De Caterina and colleagues conclude.

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