Washington, Apr 15 : Medication taken to lower blood cholesterol levels known as statins may also help reduce blood pressure says a new study.
The study was carried out by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, La Jolla led by Beatrice A. Golomb, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr Golomb and her colleagues a randomized, double-blind trial comparing statins to placebo in 973 individuals who did not have diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
As a part of the research, 322 participants were assigned to take 20 milligrams of simvastatin, 323 to take 40 milligrams of pravastatin (doses frequently prescribed for cholesterol-lowering purposes) and 328 to take placebo for a period of six months between 2000 and 2004.
The researchers measured the participants' blood pressure at the beginning of the study, at one and six months during treatment, and again two months after ending treatment (eight months after the beginning of the study).
They found that among people assigned to take statins, systolic [top number] blood pressure decreased by an average of 2.2 millimeters of mercury and diastolic [bottom number] blood pressure decreased by an average of 2.4 millimeters of mercury.
"Blood pressure reductions ranged from 2.4 to 2.8 millimeters of mercury for both systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure with both simvastatin and pravastatin, in those subjects with full follow-up and without potential for influence by blood pressure medications (i.e., neither receiving nor meriting blood pressure medications)," the authors write.
"This study adds to our understanding of the effects of statins, currently the best-selling prescription drugs in the world.
"The reduction in blood pressure seen with statins may contribute-among other identified factors-to some of the 'rapid' cardiovascular benefits of statins, arising too swiftly to be explained by effects of statins on plaque accumulation," they added.