Scientists identify new potential benefits of statins beyond lowering cholesterol

Statins Drug Pills

Statins are a class of drugs that lower blood cholesterol levels. They work by blocking an enzyme in the liver that is responsible for making cholesterol.

Recent research links cholesterol-lowering drugs to a lower risk of bleeding stroke.

According to recent research, individuals taking statins, a class of drugs that lower cholesterol levels, may have a reduced risk of intracerebral hemorrhage. Intracerebral hemorrhage is a type of stroke caused by bleeding in the brain. The study was recently published in the journal Neurology.

“While statins have been shown to reduce the risk of stroke from blood clots, there has been conflicting research on whether statin use increases or decreases the risk of first intracerebral hemorrhage,” said study author David Gaist, MD, Ph. D., from the University of Southern Denmark in Odense and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. “For our study, we looked at the lobe and non-lobe regions of the brain to see if location was a factor in statin use and risk of first intracerebral hemorrhage. We found that those on a statin had a lower risk of this type of bleeding in both brain regions. The risk was even lower with long-term use of statins.”

The lobe region of the brain covers most of the cerebrum, including the frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital lobes. The non-lobe region mainly includes the basal ganglia, thalamus, cerebellum and brainstem.

For the study, researchers looked at health records in Denmark and identified 989 people with an average age of 76 who had intracerebral hemorrhage in the lobe region of the brain. They were compared to 39,500 people who did not have this type of stroke and were similar in age, sex, and other factors.

They also looked at 1,175 people with an average age of 75 who had intracerebral hemorrhage in the non-lobar regions of the brain. They were compared to 46,755 people who did not have this type of stroke and were similar in age, sex, and other factors.

Researchers used prescription data to determine information about statin use.

Of the total number of participants, 6.8% who had had a stroke had been on statins for five years or more, compared with 8.6% of those who had not had a stroke.

After adjusting for factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes and alcohol consumption, researchers found that people currently taking statins had a 17% lower risk of stroke in the lobe regions of the brain and a 16% lower risk of stroke in the nonbrain. – lobe regions of the brain.

Longer use of statins was associated with a lower risk of stroke in both brain regions. When taking statins for more than five years, people had a 33% lower risk of stroke in the lobe region of the brain and a 38% lower risk of stroke in the non-lobar region of the brain.

“It’s reassuring news for people taking statins that these drugs seem to reduce the risk of bleeding stroke and the risk of stroke from blood clots,” Gaist added. “However, our research was only conducted among the Danish population, mainly people of European descent. More research needs to be done in other populations.”

Reference: “Association Between Statin Use and Intracerebral Hemorrhage Location: A Nested Case-Control Registry Study” by Nils Jensen Boe, Stine Munk Hald, Mie Micheelsen Jensen, Jonas Asgaard Bojsen, Mohammad Talal Elhakim, Sandra Florisson, Alisa Saleh, Anne Clausen, Sören Möller, Frederik Severin Gråe Harbo, Ole Graumann, Jesper Hallas, Luis Alberto García Rodríguez, Rustam Al-Shahi Salman, Larry B. Goldstein and David Gaist, December 7, 2022, Neurology.
DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000201664

The study was funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

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