Anti-cholesterol drugs could help stave off seizures: ubc-vancouvercoastal health research

Statins, the family of drugs used to lower cholesterol , might also reduce the risk of epileptic seizures in people withcardiovascular disease, according to a new statistical study by adrug safety expert at the University of British Columbia andVancouver Coastal Health Research Institute. The findings couldprovide the basis for randomized, controlled clinical trials totest the efficacy of the drugs as anti-epileptic medication. The study, based on a database of 2,400 Quebec residents aged 65and older, showed that those taking statins were 35 per cent lesslikely to be hospitalized with a diagnosis of epilepsy than those not taking the drug. The data was culled from a largerdatabase containing detailed information on 150,000 cardiovascularpatients in Quebec.

Published today in the journal Neurology, the study does not provecausation but only reveals an association between use of statinsand the incidence of epilepsy. Such “observational” studies arecrucial to generating hypotheses about drugs, providing a basis forclinical trials. Epilepsy, which affects 50 million people worldwide, is a braindisorder in which clusters of brain cells sometimes signalabnormally, causing strange sensations, emotions, and behavior orsometimes convulsions, muscle spasms, and loss of consciousness.It’s estimated that 30 per cent of epilepsy patients continuehaving seizures despite receiving the standard drug therapy. This is the first large study involving humans to show acorrelation between statins, the most prescribed class ofcardiovascular medications, and seizures, which may belife-threatening.

One statin drug, atorvastatin (sold under thetrade name Lipitor), has been shown to decrease seizures and neurondeath in rats. Statins also have shown protective effects in otherneurological disorders, including multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury. “Our data is compelling in that it opens doors for future studiesto test this hypothesis in patients with epilepsy,” says Dr. MahyarEtminan, a pharmacoepidemiologist and lead author of the article.Etminan is a scientist and clinical pharmacist at the Centre forClinical Epidemiology at Vancouver Coastal Health ResearchInstitute and an assistant professor in the Dept. Aluminium Composite Signs

of Medicine atUBC. “Such trials would show whether statins truly have aprotective effect, and if that effect is limited to certain typesof statins or certain types of epilepsy.” “Our study suggests that statin use reduces the risk of developingepilepsy in persons over the age of 65 with cardiovasculardisease,” says Dr. Ali Samii, a professor in the Department ofNeurology at the University of Washington, and co-author of thearticle. “The most plausible explanation is that statin use reducesthe risk of stroke in this population, and since strokes can increase the risk ofepilepsy, statins reduce the risk of epilepsy because of strokeprevention.” But Samii notes that other classes of cardiovascular drugs, such as beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors, also reduce the risk of stroke, and yet theydid not show the same effect. Therefore, statins may reduce therisk of epilepsy in this patient population by mechanisms otherthan just stroke prevention. Aluminium Strip Coil Manufacturer

Co-author Dr. James M. Brophy, of the McGill University Dept. ofMedicine, provided the database used for the study. The researchwas supported by the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute. China Aluminium Composite Panels

Source: Brian Lin University of British Columbia Additional References Citations.

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