Cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) may also help lower bloodpressure to a moderate extent, according to the results from a 6-month University of California, San Diego study. The researchersbased their findings on 1016 men and postmenopausal womenwithout known heart disease whose low-density lipoprotein (LDL;"bad") cholesterol levels were high.
During the study, the participants were randomly assigned totake simvastatin, pravastatin, or placebo. Blood pressure wasmeasured before, during, and after the trial. Reporting the resultsat the recent American Heart Association annual meeting, theresearchers explained that blood pressure was greatly reduced toa similar degree with both statin drugs. The change was evident1 month after treatment and disappeared by 2 months after themedications were stopped. Specifically, the reduction witnessedwas about 7 points for both the upper and lower readings.
Although the study had limitations, researcher Beatrice A.Golomb, MD, PhD, said the findings "may help to explain strokereduction with statins, since LDL cholesterol bears little relationshipto stroke risk, while blood pressure is a potent risk factor."