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Vitamin E Tied to Increased Risk for Hemorrhagic Stroke

But supplementation is also associated with a lower risk of ischemic stroke

FRIDAY, Nov. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Vitamin E supplementation appears to be associated with a 10 percent reduction in the risk for ischemic stroke but a 22 percent increase in the risk for hemorrhagic stroke, according to research published Nov. 4 in BMJ.

Markus Schurks, M.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of nine randomized, placebo-controlled trials including 118,765 participants (59,357 randomized to vitamin E and 59,408 to placebo) to evaluate the impact of vitamin E on incident total, ischemic, and hemorrhagic stroke.

The researchers found that, in subjects taking vitamin E, the risk of ischemic stroke fell (pooled relative risk, 0.90), but the risk for hemorrhagic stroke increased (pooled relative risk, 1.22). They identified an absolute risk of one hemorrhagic stroke for every 1,250 people taking vitamin E, and avoidance of one ischemic stroke for every 476 people taking vitamin E.

"In this meta-analysis, vitamin E increased the risk for hemorrhagic stroke by 22 percent and reduced the risk of ischemic stroke by 10 percent. This differential risk pattern is obscured when looking at total stroke. Given the relatively small risk reduction of ischemic stroke and the generally more severe outcome of hemorrhagic stroke, indiscriminate widespread use of vitamin E should be cautioned against," the authors write.

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