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More Evidence That Statins Cut Stroke Risk
Date:1/14/2010

locks a brain artery.

"We took people with normal cholesterol levels and saw a reduction in stroke similar to that in trials that selected people with higher levels of cholesterol," Everett said. "That suggests to me there's something else going on there."

That's possible, Goldstein said. "In clinical trials you measure LDL cholesterol, but many other things are going on at the same time," he said. "Still, the amount of benefit is directly related to the amount of cholesterol lowering."

While the JUPITER researchers focused on inflammation, "they still reduced LDL cholesterol levels significantly," Goldstein said.

There was no debate about the value of statin therapy in reducing other cardiovascular risks in people with high LDL levels. The Italian analysis found more benefits from statins than from other cholesterol-lowering regimens.

"Statins really ought to be our first choice for cholesterol reduction," Everett said. "That is true for heart disease and true for stroke. We showed that even patients with normal cholesterol levels may benefit from statins."

"The most gratifying thing reported by this meta-analysis is that statins among all lipid-lowering therapies appear to be the most effective," said Dr. Robert D. Brown, chairman of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. "The use of statin therapy is particularly important among people who have had a stroke. They are being used more aggressively in people who have had a stroke in an attempt to prevent another."

At least one trial has shown a significant reduction in second strokes among people taking statins, Brown noted.

More information

There's more on statins at the American Heart Association.



SOURCES: Larry B. Goldstein, M.D., director, Duke Stroke Center, Durham, N.C.; Brendan M. Eve
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