07/15/2009 - News

Cholesterol Drugs Reduce Blood Pressure

By: June Chen, MD

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Both high cholesterol and high blood pressure are risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Past reviews and analyses of clinical trials have suggested that a class of cholesterol-lowering drugs, known as statins, lowers blood pressure, in addition to reducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (or, 'bad cholesterol).

Both high cholesterol and high blood pressure are risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Past reviews and analyses of clinical trials have suggested that a class of cholesterol-lowering drugs, known as statins, lowers blood pressure, in addition to reducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (or, 'bad cholesterol).

In a recent article published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers from the University of California San Diego reported results confirming these observations that statins lower blood pressure .

In this study, 973 individuals who did not have heart disease or diabetes were randomized into three groups - one group was treated with simvastatin (marketed as Zocor®), another was treated with pravastatin (marketed as Pravachol®), and the last group was treated with a placebo pill. After six months of treatment, individuals who received statins experienced small, but statistically significant, reductions in blood pressure, even if their baseline blood pressure was already within the normal range. Simvastatin produced slightly higher reductions. The researchers also found that the effect on blood pressure was lost within two months after statin therapy was stopped.

Although the observed reduction in blood pressure was small (about 2 mm Hg), this modest reduction may still contribute to significant reductions in the risk of stroke, as well as heart disease. However, this study only included a lower-risk population of people without diabetes or heart disease. Also, the study provided only 6 months of observation and the effects of long-term therapy with statins on blood pressure still need to be studied.

Source

Arch Intern Med. 2008;168:721-727.

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Created on: 04/21/2008
Reviewed on: 07/15/2009

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