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Statins may cut strokes in high CVD risk patients

Statins can lower the risk of stroke in patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease, a large meta-analysis of randomised-controlled trials has found.

Previous evidence has suggested that the association between lipid levels and stroke risk is weak and inconsistent, but there is a suggestion that statin treatment can reduce stroke risk in high-risk patients as secondary prevention.

An analysis of 24 trials of more than 165,000 patients found 2.75% of patients given statin suffered strokes, compared with 3.6% of controls, a statistically significant relative risk reduction of 18%.

Researchers also found a statistically insignificant 13% relative risk reduction in fatal strokes.

They calculated that for each 1% reduction in LDL cholesterol in the high-risk group of patients equated to a 21.1% reduction in the risk of stroke relative to the control group.

However, the patients in the active treatment group only achieved a modest 0.85% absolute risk reduction over a mean follow-up period of four years.

Dr Pierre Amarenco, a researcher at the department of neurology and stroke at the Bichat University Hospital in Paris, concluded: ‘Further research should concentrate on determining the relationship between extent of LDL cholesterol reduction and risk reduction, the effects of triglyceride reduction, and interventions to improve patient adherence.'

The study is published in the May issue of the journal Lancet Neurology.

Statins may cut strokes in high risk CVD patients

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