03/23/2006 - News

Statin therapy can reverse heart disease process

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD


Statin therapy can reverse heart disease process

Reported by Susan Aldridge, PhD, medical journalist

A study shows that cholesterol-lowering drugs can turn back the damage to blood vessels in heart disease.
Atherosclerosis is the narrowing of the arteries by fatty deposits that sets the scene for heart disease. Statins are frequently used in the treatment of those with heart disease, or at risk of it, because they lower cholesterol levels. Now there is evidence that statin treatment can actually reverse atherosclerosis. Previously it had been shown that statin treatment can slow down or halt atherosclerosis, but there was no evidence of regression.

A team at the Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, looked at patients on rosuvastatin, one of the newer statins, and found the drug decreased low density lipoprotein (LDL or 'bad') cholesterol by as much as 50 per cent. Ultrasound examination showed that the level of atherosclerosis also declined.  The findings are an important advance in our understanding of heart disease for it had always been assumed that the process is progressive and inevitable. It suggests that statins work through reducing the burden of atherosclerosis, via the lowering of LDL cholesterol levels. It's good news for those at risk of heart disease, although diet and exercise are still very important in preventing heart problems.

American College of Cardiology conference 13th March 2006

Created on: 03/23/2006
Reviewed on: 03/23/2006

No votes yet