Statins used before or after strokes improve outcomes

New research into the use of statins before or after a stroke has shown that a patients recovery after an ischemic stroke can be improved.

The study found that patients on statins before a stroke were 1.6 times more likely to have a favourable outcome compared to patients never exposed to statins, and those on statins after a stroke were 2.6 times more likely to have a favourable outcome than those not on statins.

Study author Majaz Moonis, MD, MCRPI, DM, of the University of Massachusetts Medical School and director of the Stroke Prevention Clinic at UMass Memorial Medical Centre, says the results are very exciting and suggests that, unless contradicted, all patients at risk for ischemic stroke or recurrent ischemic stroke should probably be treated with statins to reduce their LDL levels to 60-70mg/dl.

In the study 1,618 people were examined who experienced ischemic stroke, to assess whether use of statins before or after stroke onset improved their outcomes.

The research was based on the data that stroke patients had evidence of inflammation by elevated C-reactive protein levels. Statins reduce C-reactive protein, improve the endothelium, and have an anti-clotting effect, says Moonis, and given these properties of statins, it seemed reasonable to assume that statins would improve the outcome after stroke.

The severity of the stroke did not influence the results of the study which, along with post-stroke complications and prior cerebrovascular disease, were independent predictors of an unfavourable outcome. According to the study authors these preliminary finding require further research to confirm the results.

The study will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 57th Annual Meeting in Miami Beach, Fla., April 9 – 16, 2005.

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