Cholesterol Drugs Lower Stroke Risk in Older Adults

Pharmacy Times, November 2015 Cough, Cold, & Flu, Volume 81, Issue 11

Although lipid-lowering medications are most commonly used to treat high cholesterol, the results of a recent study indicate that these drugs could also be used to reduce the risk of stroke in older populations.

Although lipid-lowering medications such as statins or fibrates are most commonly used to treat high cholesterol, the results of a recent study indicate that these drugs could also be used to reduce the risk of stroke in older populations.

The study, published in the BMJ, tracked 7484 adults with an average age of 74 years and no known history of vascular events. After an average 9-year follow-up period, the research team found that use of lipid-lowering drugs was associated with a one-third lower risk of stroke compared with nonuse; this proved true even after accounting for factors such as age, sex, body mass index, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol levels. However, the researchers did not discover any link between lipid-lowering drug use and coronary heart disease, nor did they discern any difference between statins or fibrates.

The study authors acknowledged that their research was observational, and thus warned against drawing definitive conclusions about causation from their findings, but suggested that longterm use of lipid-lowering drugs could be considered for the primary prevention of stroke among older adults.

“In other populations more exposed to the risk of stroke, a one-third reduction in stroke risk, if confirmed, could have an important effect on public health,” said study author Christophe Tzourio in a press release.