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Simvastatin Improves Retinal Blood Flow After One Week

Anticholesterol drug starts cutting intraocular pressure within 90 minutes of treatment

WEDNESDAY, May 10 (HealthDay News) -- Daily treatment with the anticholesterol drug simvastatin increases retinal blood flow and reduces intraocular pressure, according to a study published in the May issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

Taiji Nagaoka, M.D., Ph.D., of Asahikawa Medical College in Asahikawa, Japan, and colleagues evaluated the effect of simvastatin treatment (20 milligrams a day) on retinal blood flow, intraocular pressure, and nitrate and nitrite blood levels in 12 men 90 minutes after treatment and one week later.

Ninety minutes after simvastatin treatment, there were no major changes in retinal blood flow. However, daily simvastatin treatment for one week increased retinal blood flow without changing the size of blood vessels. Simvastatin also increased blood nitrite and nitrate levels and provoked a drop in intraocular pressure both 90 minutes and one week after treatment, the researchers report.

"Simvastatin induced an increase in blood velocity and blood flow in retinal arteries and veins, increased the plasma nitrite/nitrate levels, and decreased the intraocular pressure, probably through the increase in nitric oxide," the authors write.

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