Early Treatment with Statins Reduce Infection in Stroke Patients

The earlier statin therapy is administered, the greater the decrease of infection risk.

A recent study found that patients who had a stroke, but who received early treatment with statins, have a lower risk for developing an infection compared with patients who received the treatment later.

Infections could be a result from contaminated tubes or catheters. It is also suggested that the immune system is weakened after a stroke and makes the body more prone to infection, according to the study published in the Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases.

Although statins are typically used to lower cholesterol, they also have anti-inflammatory properties that can help the body’s response to infection. Researchers examined data from more than 1600 patients hospitalized for an ischemic stroke.

The data showed that severity of the stroke, age, and comorbidities did not influence their findings.

Researchers did, however, find that the timing for administration of the drug was significant.

"The administration of statins relative to infection is critically important," researcher Doug Weeks, PhD, concluded. "We've been able to establish that if statins are given early, before infection can occur, the risk of infection is substantially reduced. However, this relationship needs to be tested in more rigorous placebo-controlled studies to see if this benefit with statins is maintained."