Statins Can Benefit Stroke Survivors

Study shows cholesterol-lowering drugs provide better outcomes

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THURSDAY, April 8, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- People who have an ischemic stroke while they're taking cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins seem to have better outcomes than stroke survivors who weren't taking statins at the time of their stroke.

That's the finding of a new Spanish study published in the April 8 rapid access issue of Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Ischemic strokes are caused by a blood clot that blocks blood flow to the brain.

The study included 167 stroke patients, average age 70. Thirty of the patients had been taking statins when they suffered their stroke. These people were better able to care for themselves and be functionally independent three months after their stroke than the stroke survivors who weren't taking statins.

Of those taking statins, 76.7 percent were living without significant disability, compared to 51.8 percent of those not taking statins.

Study lead author Dr. Joan Marti-Fabregas noted that this was an observational study and not a therapeutic trial.

"At this moment, we don't recommend beginning statin therapy at the onset of stroke. However, our study points to the need for a randomized controlled trial with statins in the acute stages of ischemic stroke. We really are convinced that statins do benefit patients with ischemic stroke, and statins appear to be safe," she said in a prepared statement.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about stroke.

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, April 8, 2004

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