Cholesterol Drugs Better Stroke Outcome

Statins after stroke lower risk of dying

(RxWiki News) Taking cholesterol-lowering statins following a stroke appears to reduce a patient's chance of dying in the hospital and improves their likelihood of returning home when they are discharged.

One of the known benefits of statin drugs is a reduced risk of future strokes.

"Talk to a cardiologist about methods to prevent strokes."

Alexander C. Flint, MD, PhD, a study author with Kaiser Permanente, noted that the timing of when to begin a statin therapy to give patients added benefit has been unclear. He said that previous research suggests statins should be started while patients are in the hospital recovering.

During the study, investigators reviewed the records of 12,689 individuals admitted over a seven-year period to a Kaiser Permanente hospital in northern California for an ischemic stroke. Researchers used medical and pharmacy records to determine whether patients took statins prior to their stroke or during their hospital stay.

They also pinpointed the discharge locations of  patients to determine whether they were released to go home, transferred to another institution such as a nursing home or rehabilitation center, or whether they died in the hospital.

Patients taking statins before and during their hospital stay were most likely to go home, with 57 percent discharged to their home following hospitalization compared to 47 percent who did not take statins.

Of patients taking statins, 6 percent died in the hospital versus 11 percent of patients not taking statins.

"There are a multitude of benefits to returning directly home after experiencing a stroke for the patient and the family, both functionally and financially," noted Dr. Flint.

The study, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente Community Benefits Research Fund, will be published in the May 22 issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

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Review Date: 
May 17, 2012