Can Cholesterol Drugs Help MS?

Published Online: Thursday, May 1, 2003

Preliminary findings from the Medical University of South Carolina suggest that the prescription drug simvastatin, used to lower cholesterol, also might help delay multiple sclerosis (MS). The researchers studied 28 people with the relapsing?remitting form of MS, in which flare-ups are followed by complete or partial disappearance of symptoms.

During the 6-month study, participants took 80 mg of sim-vastatin. To see whether it had any effect, brain scans were done at the beginning of the study and at regular intervals. The scans revealed that simvastatin considerably reduced the damage caused by MS in 23 of the 28 participants. The results also suggested that the drug might help guard against some of the attacks on the brain and spinal cord?a trend that requires a larger study. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, however, does not recommend that MS patients take cholesterol-lowering drugs until more conclusive evidence is provided.

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