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Individuals with claudication, a leg disease caused by peripheral artery disease, may experience pain-free walking if treated with atorvastatin. In a double-blind study conducted at Brigham and Women?s Hospital, the researchers randomly assigned 354 patients with peripheral artery disease and claudication to take atorvastatin or a placebo for 1 year. At the end of the study, there was no major difference between the 2 groups in the maximum time they could walk on a treadmill.
The amount of time patients could walk free of pain was a different story. Participants taking 80 mg of atorvastatin showed a 63% improvement in the length of time they could walk without pain, compared with 38% of patients taking 10 mg of atorvastatin or the placebo, according to findings published in Circulation (September 1, 2003). Also, patients taking either dose of atorvastatin reported an improvement in their ability to participate in physical activity, compared with those taking the placebo.