Statins After Ischemic Stroke Not Tied to Brain Hemorrhage

Similar lack of association found for subgroups and dose-response analyses

FRIDAY, Sept. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to statins after acute ischemic stroke is not associated with intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), according to a study published online Sept. 12 in the Archives of Neurology.

Daniel G. Hackam, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada, and colleagues investigated the association between statins and ICH in 17,872 patients aged 66 years and older who started statin therapy following acute ischemic stroke from July 1994 through March 2008. The patients were followed up for a median of 4.2 years. A total of 213 episodes of ICH were identified. Several tests of specificity to exclude healthy user bias and enhance causal inference were conducted. Hospitalization or emergency department visit for ICH was the main outcome measure.

The investigators found no association between statins and ICH in the primary analysis comparing statin users with nonusers (hazard ratio, 0.87; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.65 to 1.17), with similar results for subgroup and dose-response analyses. Tests of specificity showed that statin therapy did not correlate with bone mineral density testing, vitamin D or B12 screening, gastrointestinal endoscopy, or elective knee arthroplasty.

"In this large observational cohort of older patients surviving acute ischemic stroke, we found no harmful association between statins and subsequent ICH," the authors write.

One of the study authors disclosed financial ties with the pharmaceutical industry.

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