Statins cut stroke risk by a fifth, study finds
The hugely successful class of drugs -- a mainstay for millions of people with heart disease -- also slow the movement of blockages in the carotid artery carrying blood to the brain, French researchers reported in the journal Lancet Neurology.
The meta-analysis concluded that stroke risk fell by 21 percent for each one millimole per liter decrease in the level of "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the blood.
Previous individual clinical trials have not always given a clear picture of the benefits of using statins in stroke prevention. Leading statins include Pfizer's Lipitor, AstraZeneca's Crestor and cheaper generics, such as simvastatin.
Lead researcher Pierre Amarenco from Paris-Diderot University said the next step in the field should be to assess the safety and effectiveness of further reductions in LDL cholesterol after a stroke.