Cholesterol-lowering drug may also reduce risk of blood clots

11/10/04

Statin drugs, commonly used to lower high cholesterol blood levels, have been shown to possibly decrease the risk for thrombotic complications of antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), a disease associated with blood clotting and recurrent fetal loss. Research conducted on animal models, has shown success in using the drug fluvastatin to inhibit the factors causing development of thrombosis.

"Statin drugs appear to decrease abnormalities that increase the risk of thrombosis associated with antiphospholipid antibodies," states Dr. Robin L. Brey in an editorial commenting on a study (Fluvastatin inhibits up-regulation of tissue factor expression by antiphospholipid antibodies on endothelial cells, D.E. Ferrara, et al.) published in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis. The presence of antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL) is a main characteristic of APS.

Current treatments include the use of blood thinning drugs like warfarin, which does not dissolve blood clots, but can prevent their formation and further growth, according to The Cleveland Clinic. However, this treatment is difficult for patients to take because of the need for frequent blood monitoring, potential bleeding complications, and the cost and inconvenience due to multiple drug interactions. The study, led by D.E. Ferrara and researchers from Morehouse School of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine and University of Milan, Italy, suggests that statins may replace warfarin, or certainly provide an alternative therapy pending more study in human trials.

In addition, "statin drugs seem to decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke independent of their effect on cholesterol lowering and are relatively free of serious side effects," said Brey. "However, clinical trials must be performed to see if their protective effect in patients with aPL holds up."

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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