Statins lower BP as well as cholesterol

Statins could improve BP independently of their cholesterol-lowering ability, say UK and Italian researchers.

Their meta-analysis of 20 trials, involving a total of 887 patients, showed that statins reduced systolic BP by an average of 1.9 mmHg and diastolic BP by an average of 0.9mmHg.

This is close to the 2-3mmHg reduction in systolic BP seen with exercise.

As 30-60 per cent of patients taking statins have hypertension, any benefit the drugs have on BP could be useful for overall cardiovascular health.

The higher the baseline BP, the greater the effects of statins on BP, delegates at the meeting were told.

But antihypertensive use, reduced cholesterol, baseline cholesterol and length of follow-up had no impact on the effect of statins on BP.

Patients were taking a range of statins at various doses, but the most common drugs used were pravastatin and simvastatin.

Lead researcher Sally Kerry, from St George's, University of London, said it remained unclear why statins had such an effect.

'Future research on the mechanisms of statins will see what's going on,' she said.

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