Risk and Benefit of Statins in Stroke Secondary Prevention
Affiliation: Department of Neurology, CHU Mont-Godinne, Institute of Neurosciences, Avenue Therasse 1, B- 5530 Yvoir, Belgium.
Keywords: Carotid stenosis, cerebral hemorrhage, cholesterol, risk, statins, stroke, therapy, treatment.
Statin is now recommended in secondary prevention after stroke or transient ischemic attacks to reduce the risk
of a new stroke or major cardiovascular events. However, some issues about the extent of the benefit in some stroke patients
and the risk of cerebral hemorrhage remain debated. This review shows that statins are significantly effective in decreasing
the risk of further strokes despite an increase in the risk of brain hemorrhage. A significant benefit was observed
in men and women, in aged patients and possibly to a greater extent in patients with carotid artery stenosis. Intensive
statin therapy lowering the LDL-cholesterol beyond the cut-off value of 1.8 mmol/L (70 mg/dl) seems to be more effective
than less intensive treatment and without an increased risk of side effects. Overall, statins are well tolerated. Further
prospective studies should clarify whether the effect is of the same magnitude in small vessel disease and how to select the
patients to reduce the risk of cerebral hemorrhage.
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