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Death Risk Higher in Stroke Survivors Who Stop Statins

Those who discontinue statin therapy may have a nearly triple one-year risk of all-cause mortality

FRIDAY, Aug. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Stroke survivors who discontinue prescribed statin therapy have a nearly triple risk of dying within a year compared to those who remain adherent, according to a study published online Aug. 30 in Stroke.

Furio Colivicchi, M.D., of the Institute for Clinical Research, Santa Lucia Foundation in Rome, Italy, and colleagues studied 631 stroke survivors, none of whom had evidence of coronary heart disease. All were ordered to take statins after being discharged.

During a one-year follow-up, the researchers found that 246 patients (38.9 percent) stopped taking statins and that the mean time from discharge to statin discontinuation was 48.6 days. After adjusting for potential confounders, the researchers found that patients who stopped taking statins had a significantly higher risk of all-cause one-year mortality (hazard ratio, 2.78). They also found that the patients most likely to stop statin therapy were older (an average of 71.4 versus 69.5 years) and female, and that the patients least likely to stop statin therapy were either diabetic or had had a previous stroke.

"These findings suggest that patient care should be improved during the transition from a hospital setting to outpatient primary care," the authors conclude. "Indeed, effective clinical strategies are needed to bring about a significant increase in adherence to evidence-based medical treatments."

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