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Can statins reduce my risk for stroke or help prevent a second stroke?

Several clinical trials have found that statins, a class of lipid-lowering drugs, reduce the risk of stroke in people with cardiovascular disease. And research has found that statins may also reduce the risk of stroke in people without cardiovascular disease.

The same also appears to be true for preventing a second stroke. A 2006 study in The New England Journal of Medicine looked at patients who'd had a recent stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) -- brain attack that resolves within 24 hours (or ministroke) -- but who did not have coronary artery disease. Over the next five years, patients who took atorvastatin were significantly less likely to have a subsequent stroke than patients who took a placebo. However, the study raised some concern, as confirmed in an article in the journal Neurology: while atorvastatin did significantly reduce the risk of subsequent stroke from any cause, it also significantly increased the risk of a subsequent hemorrhagic stroke. You and your physician will need to carefully weigh your personal risks and benefits when deciding whether to use statins for preventing a second stroke.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.