Stroke Patients Benefit from Statins
Researchers from 2 continents foundthat statins lower the frequency of apotentially deadly complication inpatients who have strokes as a result ofa ruptured blood vessel. The studiesfocused on a small number of patientswho had subarachnoid hemorrhages inwhich a blood vessel burst, causingbleeding into the space between thebrain and the skull. Oftentimes patientslater experience vasospasm, a prolongedcontraction of blood vessels thatcan lead to another stroke.
In the British study, 40 of the 80patients were given pravastatin (Pravachol)for 14 days, beginning within 72hours of a stroke. The results showedthat patients taking the statins were32% less likely to develop vasospasm,compared with the placebo group. Boththe occurrences of vasospasm-causeddisability and death also were significantlylower in patients receiving thestatin.
In the US study, 39 patients weregiven simvastatin (Zocor) or a placebowithin 48 hours of a stroke. The investigatorsfound that only 25% of thepatients receiving simvastatin had evidenceof vasospasm during the 14-daytrial, compared with 60% of the placebogroup. (The findings from the 2 studieswere reported in Stroke, August 2005.)