April 11, 2008 -- Chalk up another potential benefit to taking statins. A
newly released study shows that the cholesterol-lowering drugs also help to
lower blood pressure. Study authors say it's the first time research has shown
that statins work this way in the body.
Researchers looked at 973 men and women in southern California. The
participants had no known heart disease or diabetes. Participants were given
either Zocor, Pravachol, or a placebo every day for six months.
People who took either one of the two statin drugs had a "modest, but
significant" reduction of blood pressure when compared with the group who
took a placebo pill.
"We found that statins lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure,
and that the effect extends to patients with pre-hypertension, with normal
blood pressure, and persons not on blood-pressure lowering medications,"
according to a news release from study researcher Beatrice Golomb, MD, PhD.
Golomb is with the University of California, San Diego School of
Statins are one of the best-selling prescribed drugs in the world, used
mainly to treat high cholesterol. But physicians have long observed that
the health benefits obtained from statin use seem to be more rapid than could
be explained from the effects of these medications on plaque
accumulation. The blood pressure reduction effect could prove to be part
of the answer.
Lower blood pressure is linked to lower stroke risk. Study authors suspect
that one of the ways the use of statins is helpful in reducing stroke is
through the blood pressure effect.
Golomb and her team recommend more research, looking into how different
types of statins might work, plus how different dosages and a longer treatment
time may affect blood pressure.
The study is published in the April 14 edition of the journal Archives of