Public Release: 

Cholesterol-lowering drug may also reduce risk of blood clots

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Statin drugs, commonly used to lower high cholesterol blood levels, have been shown to possibly decrease the risk for thrombotic complications of antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), a disease associated with blood clotting and recurrent fetal loss. Research conducted on animal models, has shown success in using the drug fluvastatin to inhibit the factors causing development of thrombosis.

"Statin drugs appear to decrease abnormalities that increase the risk of thrombosis associated with antiphospholipid antibodies," states Dr. Robin L. Brey in an editorial commenting on a study (Fluvastatin inhibits up-regulation of tissue factor expression by antiphospholipid antibodies on endothelial cells, D.E. Ferrara, et al.) published in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis. The presence of antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL) is a main characteristic of APS.

Current treatments include the use of blood thinning drugs like warfarin, which does not dissolve blood clots, but can prevent their formation and further growth, according to The Cleveland Clinic. However, this treatment is difficult for patients to take because of the need for frequent blood monitoring, potential bleeding complications, and the cost and inconvenience due to multiple drug interactions. The study, led by D.E. Ferrara and researchers from Morehouse School of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine and University of Milan, Italy, suggests that statins may replace warfarin, or certainly provide an alternative therapy pending more study in human trials.

In addition, "statin drugs seem to decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke independent of their effect on cholesterol lowering and are relatively free of serious side effects," said Brey. "However, clinical trials must be performed to see if their protective effect in patients with aPL holds up."

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The National Organization for Rare Disorders reports that APS is characterized by recurring blood clots in individuals before the age of 45 and may also be associated with repeated spontaneous abortions for no apparent reason in young women.

Both the study and related commentary are published in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis. Media wishing to receive a PDF of the article contact medicalnews@bos.blackwellpublishing.net.

For an abstract on the study by Ferrara et al visit: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/links/doi/10.1111/j.1538-7836.2004.00896.x/abs/ or http://www.journalth.com/showPage.php?template=Sottocategorie&search=12867&masterPage=abstract.html.

About the Authors
Commentating author, Robin L. Brey, M.D., is Professor of Medicine in the Department of Neurology and Associate Director of the General Clinical Research Center Program at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Dr. Brey can be reached for questions and interviews at brey@uthscsa.edu. Corresponding author of the study by Ferrara et al is Professor S. S. Pierangeli, pierans@msm.edu.

About the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis
Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, the official journal of the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis, is advancing science related to the important medical problems of thrombosis, bleeding disorders and vascular biology through the diffusion and exchange of information and ideas within the international research community. The Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis is now available in print and online.

About Blackwell Publishing
Blackwell Publishing is the world's leading society publisher, partnering with more than 550 academic and professional societies. Blackwell publishes over 750 journals and 600 text and reference books annually, across a wide range of academic, medical, and professional subjects.

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