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Statin therapy sub par in stroke patients: study

By Staff
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NEW YORK, May 6 (Reuters) Only about half of individuals who suffer a stroke and have elevated levels of harmful LDL cholesterol are prescribed a statin, and among those who are taking a statin, fewer than half meet recommended lipid goals, according to results of a recent study.

Dr Bruce Ovbiagele, from the University of California Los Angeles School of Medicine, and colleagues evaluated data from 769 patients who had experienced an ischemic stroke -- the type of stroke caused by a blood clot in the brain that cuts off the oxygen supply. These patients, whose average age was 69 years, were deemed to be at high risk of heart disease in the future.

According to current guidelines, an LDL cholesterol level of 130 mg/dL or higher should trigger initiation of statin therapy. The goal of statin therapy is a LDL level of 100 mg/dL or lower.

At baseline, 262 (34 per cent) of high-risk stroke patients had LDL cholesterol of 130 mg/dL or higher. Of these, 47 per cent were not on statin therapy.

Among those who were on statin therapy, only 42 percent met the treatment goal of LDL less than 100 mg/dL.

Writing in the journal Neurology, Ovbiagele and colleagues say their data suggest that adherence to guidelines for statin therapy ''remains inadequate.'' ''This is of concern,'' they write, ''since patients at high risk for initial or recurrent coronary heart disease events constitute the population most likely to benefit from comprehensive risk factor management.'' REUTERS DKS HT0917

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