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Lowering cholesterol significantly improves stroke risk

14th August 2006

A recent study to determine the impact of cholesterol level on stroke recurrence has shown the extent to which lowering of cholesterol can help.

The Pfizer-funded research group, from the Stroke Prevention by Aggressive Reduction of Cholosterol Levels team (SPARCL), investigated the impact of taking the atorvastatin calcium drug Lipitor on incidence of a recurrent stroke.

It was found that those taking the atorvastatin were 16 per cent less likely to have a second stroke, compared with patients taking a placebo, according to the research published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

"These data are important information for physicians because patients who have had a stroke are at much greater risk for suffering another one, yet treatment options to reduce their risk are limited," said the principal investigator Dr K Michael Welch.

"We believe that the findings indicate that Lipitor 80 should become an established part of secondary stroke prevention," he added.

According to the National Stroke Association, up to 40 per cent of stroke patients will have a further stroke within the next five years.