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Acetaminophen, Cholesterol Drugs May Help Fight Stroke
Date:4/14/2009

Statins could help prevent attack, while painkiller might minimize damage, studies find

TUESDAY, April 14 (HealthDay News) -- Two new studies find that acetaminophen and statins can be of great benefit in either preventing or treating stroke.

In the first study, statin use seemed to be correlated with a lower risk of having a first stroke, according to a group of French researchers.

Meanwhile, another team in the Netherlands found that patients with a body temperature ranging from normal (98.6 F) to 102.2 F who received acetaminophen soon after the onset of a stroke fared better than patients who did not receive the drug.

Both studies are in the May issue of Lancet Neurology.

Prior studies have suggested that the use of cholesterol-lowering statins -- which include the blockbusters Crestor, Lipitor and Zocor -- can cut the risk of stroke for certain patients.

in the new study, French researchers reviewed 24 studies involving more than 165,000 patients. They found that for every 1 millimole per liter decrease in LDL ("bad") cholesterol brought about by using statins, the risk of stroke fell by about 21 percent, compared to people who did not take these drugs.

The data also suggests that statin use slows the formation of blockages in the carotid arteries, which lead from the heart to the brain.

"It crystallizes the fact that there's a direct relationship between lowering LDL and lowering the risk of stroke," said Dr. Jonathan Friedman, an associate professor of surgery and of neuroscience and experimental therapeutics at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine. "It's not just a matter of putting patients at risk for stroke on a statin and considering that a success, but actually being aggressive about lowering LDL and monitoring and making sure the response is as significant as you can expect. The amount that you lower the LDL actually matters. That
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