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Statin Stroke

Long-Term Statin Use Associated with Lower Stroke Risk

By Jonathan Springston, Editor, Relias Media

Researchers have reported a possible association between taking statins to control cholesterol and the risk of experiencing an intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH).

Using information from Danish registries, investigators searched for first-ever cases of ICH that occurred between 2009 and 2018 in people age 55 years and older. The authors found 989 patients who experienced a lobar ICH (52.2% women; mean age = 76.3 years) who were matched to 39,500 controls. Investigators also identified 1,175 patients who experienced non-lobar ICH (46.5% women; mean age = 75.1 years) who were matched to 46,755 controls. Researchers also considered the recency, duration, and intensity of statin use among these patients.

Overall, the authors reported 6.8% of patients who experienced a stroke had been taking statins for five or more years vs. 8.6% of patients who did not experience a stroke. After adjusting for factors such as diabetes, alcohol use, and high blood pressure, investigators reported patients currently taking statins were 17% less likely to experience a stroke in the lobe areas and 16% less likely to experience a stroke in the non-lobe areas. Also, taking statins for five years or longer was associated with 33% lower risk and 38% lower risk of ICH in the lobe areas and non-lobe areas, respectively.

This research was conducted among only Danish patients, so these results might not apply to other groups; the authors acknowledged more studies are needed with more diverse populations.

On a related note, a different group of researchers recently reported on possible connections between a concentration of lipoprotein(a) and higher risk for stroke and heart attack. The level of this type of cholesterol is considered to be dictated by a patient’s genetics, not lifestyle. Among patients with higher concentrations of lipoprotein(a), only those with concurrent high blood pressure were considered at higher risk. Although more research also is needed on this subject, these results appear to be another compelling reason to convince patients to bring their hypertension under control.

For more on this and related subjects, be sure to read the latest issues of Clinical Cardiology Alert and Neurology Alert.