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Statin Associated with Slower Brain Atrophy in Progressive Multiple Sclerosis — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
March 19, 2014

Statin Associated with Slower Brain Atrophy in Progressive Multiple Sclerosis

By Joe Elia

A phase 2 study shows a slowing of brain atrophy with a high-dose statin in patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.

According to a Lancet study, 140 patients were randomized to 80 mg of simvastatin or placebo daily for 24 months. The main outcome was MRI-detected change in brain volume. Measurements were taken at baseline, 12 months, and 25 months.

Atrophy was slower in the statin versus placebo group (roughly 0.3% vs. 0.6% per year — after adjustment, a 40% relative reduction).

The investigators note that because statins "have cell protective properties and improve cerebrovascular haemodynamics, they could be used in patients with later stage multiple sclerosis in whom vascular and brain parenchymal cell dysfunction take place." However, they and commentators caution against overinterpreting the current results and call for phase 3 studies.

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