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Patients who stop taking statins after suffering a stroke are at greater risk of suffering another one, according to research.
The study suggests that stroke patients who stopped taking statins three to six months after a first ischemic stroke, the type caused by narrowed arteries, had a higher risk of having another stroke within a year.
Researchers also found that stopping statins, which lower cholesterol, between three and six months after a first ischemic stroke was linked to higher risk of death.
Ischemic strokes – the most common type – may be caused by a build-up of cholesterol in the arteries, which blocks blood flow to brain. If levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) ‘bad' cholesterol is too high, statins can reduce the risk of a recurrent stroke because they reduce clogging.
Researchers in Taiwan followed subjects who had been in hospital with a stroke. They all received either high or moderate intensity statins within three months after they left the hospital.
Compared to people who kept taking statins during a one-year follow-up period, the risk of another stroke increased 42 per cent for patients who stopped taking statins.
Study lead author Doctor Meng Lee said: ‘We believe that statins should be a lifelong therapy for ischemic stroke patients if a statin is needed to lower the patient's cholesterol.
‘Shifting to low-intensity therapy could be an alternative for stroke patients not able to tolerate moderate or high intensity therapy in the years following a stroke.' The findings were published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
© Daily Mail