Public Release:  Cholesterol-lowering drugs reduce risk of stroke, heart attack

American Academy of Neurology

BOSTON -- People whose cholesterol improved after one month on cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins reduced their risk of stroke and heart attack, according to research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 59th Annual Meeting in Boston, April 28 - May 5, 2007.

The study enrolled 4,731 people within one to six months of having a stroke or transient ischemic attack, or mini-stroke, and with no history of heart disease. Half of the participants received the cholesterol-lowering drug atorvastatin and half received a placebo. The participants were then followed for an average of four and a half years.

For each 10-percent decrease in LDL, or low-density lipoprotein "bad" cholesterol, the risk of stroke was reduced by four percent and the risk of heart attack was reduced by seven percent. The average decrease in LDL cholesterol after one month on atorvastatin was 53 percent.

"These findings reinforce the importance of controlling cholesterol," said study author Pierre Amarenco, MD, of Denis Diderot University in Paris, France, and Fellow member of the American Academy of Neurology. "It's encouraging to see that reducing cholesterol so quickly can have positive long-term effects."

People with higher levels of HDL, or high-density lipoprotein "good" cholesterol, at the beginning of the study and after one month had a lower risk of stroke.

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EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE UNTIL 3:45 P.M. ET, WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2007
Media Contact:
Robin Stinnett, (651) 695-2763, rstinnett@aan.com
AAN Press Room HCC 203 (April 28 - May 4): (617) 954-3126

The study was part of a large study called the Stroke Prevention by Aggressive Reduction in Cholesterol Levels (SPARCL) trial.

The study was supported by Pfizer Inc, the maker of atorvastatin.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of over 20,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and stroke. For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit www.aan.com.

Editor's Note: Dr. Amarenco will present this research during a scientific platform session at 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday, May 2, 2007, in room 312 of the Hynes Convention Center.

He will be available for media questions during a briefing at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 2, 2007, in the on-site Press Interview Room, room HCC 204. All listed times are for Eastern Time (ET). If you are a member of the media interested in listening to the press briefing via conference call, please call the AAN Press Room (April 28 - May 4) at (617) 954-3126.

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