Findings from a new study strongly discourage discontinuation of statins in patients with ischaemic stroke of large- or small-vessel atherosclerotic origin who have reached a target LDL cholesterol goal.
IThe study found discontinuation of statins between three and six months after an index ischaemic stroke was associated with increased risk of recurrent stroke (42 per cent) and all-cause mortality (37 per cent) in the 6- to 18-month period after discharge. There was no additional risk of stroke or all-cause mortality for patients who continued taking statins at a decreased dose.
“Discontinuation of statin treatment in patients with ischaemic stroke should be strongly discouraged in any stage, acute or chronic, of stroke,” said Dr Meng Lee, lead author of the study. “Shifting to low-intensity statin therapy could be an alternative for stroke patients not able to tolerate moderate or high-intensity statin therapy in the years following a stroke.”
The study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association , included 45,151 ischaemic stroke patients who were prescribed a statin within 90 days of leaving the hospital, and whose data was collected by the Taiwan National Health Insurance Programme.