Editor-in-Chief: Dimitri P. Mikhailidis Academic Head, Department of Clinical Biochemistry Royal Free Hospital Campus University College London Medical School University College London (UCL) Pond Street London, NW3 2QG UK
Affiliation: Department of Neurology, CHU Mont-Godinne, Institute of Neurosciences, Avenue Therasse 1, B- 5530 Yvoir, Belgium.
Statin is now recommended in secondary prevention after stroke or transient ischemic attacks to reduce the risk of a new stroke or major cardiovascular events. However, some issues about the extent of the benefit in some stroke patients and the risk of cerebral hemorrhage remain debated. This review shows that statins are significantly effective in decreasing the risk of further strokes despite an increase in the risk of brain hemorrhage. A significant benefit was observed in men and women, in aged patients and possibly to a greater extent in patients with carotid artery stenosis. Intensive statin therapy lowering the LDL-cholesterol beyond the cut-off value of 1.8 mmol/L (70 mg/dl) seems to be more effective than less intensive treatment and without an increased risk of side effects. Overall, statins are well tolerated. Further prospective studies should clarify whether the effect is of the same magnitude in small vessel disease and how to select the patients to reduce the risk of cerebral hemorrhage.