19 August 2011
Cholesterol-lowering statin drugs could reduce the likelihood of heart problems associated with strokes and heart attacks but may not be suitable for everyone, experts have warned.
Writing in the Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics journal, Loyola University Health System neurologists reminded patients and healthcare professionals that the benefits of statin drugs only apply to around 85 per cent of all stroke victims.
Specifically, those who experience ischemic attacks - or mini strokes - can benefit from them. The 15 per cent of patients who have experienced hemorrhagic strokes caused by bleeding on or in the brain are not affected. Even within the 85 per cent category, patients who suffer from high blood pressure caused by alcohol should be monitored closely when taking the drugs, the researchers suggest.
The researchers concluded that because the "potential influences of statins are so broad and mixed and the potential for effects and counter-effects so likely", further detailed investigation and trials are needed to fully understand the effects of statin drugs.
According to the British Heart Foundation, heart and circulatory diseases account for a third of all deaths in the UK - roughly 191,000 mortalities each year - at a combined cost to the economy of £30 billion.
Posted by Jeanette Royston
1 Flaster, Murray, et al., "Statins in hemorrhagic stroke". Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics. Thursday August 18th 2011.
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