The Stroke Prevention by Aggressive Reduction of Cholesterol Levels (SPARCL) is very impressive in terms of design and what it demonstrated: The SPARCL study included 4,731 patients with no history of heart disease who had experienced a stroke or TIA (mini stroke) within six months of study enrollment. Patients had mildly elevated cholesterol levels, and received either 80 mg of Lipitor or a placebo; they were then monitored for an average of five years.
Study findings indicate that patients taking Lipitor experienced a 16-percent reduction in the risk of secondary stroke compared with patients taking a placebo. Lipitor patients also saw a 35-percent reduction in the risk of major coronary events (cardiac death, non-fatal heart attacks, or resuscitated cardiac arrest) compared to the patients taking placebo. “These cardiovascular results are remarkable in a population not known to have had heart disease,” said principal investigator, Dr. K. Michael Welch.
The SPARCL study researchers conclude that their results support the initiation of statin (i.e., Lipitor) treatment shortly after a stroke or TIA. “We believe that the findings indicate that Lipitor 80 should become an established part of secondary stroke prevention,” said Dr. Welch.
Our comment on this release from Rosalind Franklin U, which did the research…. this is stunning stuff which once again makes the case for taking statins as a preventative measure in specific at risk populations….when is our health care system going to start paying doctors for taking care of people before they have strokes?