Statins are generally recommended for protecting against cardiovascular diseases, like as heart attack and stroke. Now, a pooled analysis of presented studies covering millions of individuals discovers that the cholesterol decreasing drugs may also prevent venous thromboembolism, a major but avoidable cause of hospital deaths.
Investigators from the University of Leicester and the University of Bristol, report their results in The Lancet Haematology.
They suggest that once other research confirms their outcomes, they could result in new guidelines for statin use to cover the prevention of vein blood clots, together with cardiovascular disease.
Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a life frightening problem in which blood clots form in the vein.
When the blood clot is in a deep vein usually in the leg – it is a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). When a clot breaks loose and moves to the lungs, it is a pulmonary embolism (PE).
VTE is a major cause of death and disability. Estimations suggest that around 10 million cases take place globally every year, and it is one of the most preventable causes of hospital related deaths.
Statins are medicines that can assist to lower blood levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol by decreasing its production in the liver.
Having high levels of LDL, or “bad cholesterol,” can result in atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of arteries) and cardiovascular problems, like as heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke.
‘Great promise beyond lipid-lowering effect’
Study Lead author Dr. Setor Kunutsor, states that while statins are presently only accepted for use in the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease, they have also proven “great promise beyond their established lipid-lowering effects and these include possible beneficial effect on multiple disease conditions.”
In their research background, Dr. Kunutsor and co-workers note that there have been recommendations that statins may prevent VTE, but “the proof is uncertain.”
To assess the level to which statins have been connected with initial VTE events, the investigators undertook a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies and randomized controlled studies.
They explored several well known databases for studies up to July 2016 that reported associations between statin use and first VTE outcomes.
The observational studies included in the analysis evaluated the link between statin use and VTE, DVT, or PE in adults.
The randomized controlled studies included in the analysis had compared the effect of statin therapy in opposition to getting no treatment or placebo use, and they had gathered data on VTE, DVT, and PE outcomes.
Statins decreased VTE threat by 15-25 %
Altogether, the investigators analyzed 36 studies with data on over 3.2 million individuals. They took into account age, country of origin, and whether there was a higher or low risk of developing VTE.
The analysis revealed that, in comparison with not using statins, there was a very clear connection between statin use and a decreased risk of VTE.
Outcomes revealed a 15-25 % decrease in relative risk for VTE in those who used statins versus those who did not.
The authors observe that due to restricted data, they could not definitely show whether all kinds of statin were equally effective.
They also indicate that further proof must confirm the results before guidelines for statin use are extended to include prevention of VTE, along with cardiovascular disease.
Commenting on their outcomes Dr. Setor Kunutsor said,
“These outcomes offer an extensive body of proof on the clinical advantage of statin in the occurrence of VTE and may support a true protective effect.”