A recent study should work as a warning for patients who have experienced a stroke, as it brings evidence in favor of statins. Researchers discovered that patients who stopped taking this kind of medication after suffering an ischemic stroke were more likely to suffer a second event of the same type.
Ischemic strokes block arteries with cholesterol
The research was led by scientists from Chang Gung University College of Medicine in Taiwan, and was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. To develop it, scientists monitored a number of 45,151 people who suffered an ischemic stroke between 2001 and 2012.
An ischemic stroke occurs when too much cholesterol accumulates in the arteries and they get clogged. This means that the blood flow gets obstructed, and it can no longer reach the brain. All the patients who participated in the study received prescriptions for statins, which prevent arteries from getting clogged.
Discontinuing a treatment with statins increases the risk of a second stroke
Then, researchers noticed something interesting. Those patients who no longer took statins between three and six months after they suffered the stroke were more likely to suffer a second stroke. Also, they were at a higher risk of death by any other causes. More precisely, if they stopped taking the medication, patients had a 42 percent higher risk of a second stroke. The general risk of death was of 37 percent.
However, this didn’t apply to those patients who didn’t stop taking the medication completely, but gradually reduced the dosage of statins. They didn’t show the same risk of suffering a second stroke. This suggests one thing: statins shouldn’t be given as a short-term medication, especially if the patient had already suffered one ischemic event.
If a patient needs to decrease their cholesterol levels and has suffered an ischemic stroke, statins are the suitable lifelong treatment. Under no circumstances is it advised to stop taking the medication, even several months after the event.
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