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Stroke risk slashed by taking statins

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Statins can reduce the risk of stroke by one fifth, a French study has shown.

An analysis of more than 165,000 patients by researchers at the Paris-Diderot University found using statins lowered the relative risk of stroke by 21%.

The study, published in the May edition of The Lancet Neurology, also found statins reduced the relative risk of recurrent stroke by 16% and of major cardiovascular events by 20%.

Statins have been shown to reduce inflammation, improve breakdown of fibrin clots, lower blood pressure and reduce the incidence of heart attacks.

Previous studies have suggested that the drugs might increase the risk of haemorrhage. The researchers found no evidence that statins increased the risk of haemorrhagic stroke, except in patients with prior brain bleeds.

They said: ‘We would only prescribe statins to patients who are at high risk of major coronary or other atherothrombotic events.’

They added: ‘New strategies of care need to be investigated, such as prevention clinics with nurse practitioners trained in the prevention of vascular disease to monitor patients closely to ensure they are treated to target.’

The Lancet Neurology (2009) 8: 453-463

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