Statins can tackle high BP

An independent anti-hypertensive role confirmed for statins.

Statins may help to lower BP levels independently of their cholesterol-lowering ability, US research suggests.

Previous studies have indirectly shown that statins could reduce BP in patients with hypertension.

But this latest randomised controlled trial is the first to focus on the association, and showed that statin use could lower BP by up to 2.4mmHg.

It involved 973 adults with no history of cardiovascular disease (CVD) or diabetes.

For six months, 322 participants were assigned to take simvastatin 20mg daily, 323 pravastatin 40mg daily, while 328 participants were given a placebo.

BP was measured at the start of the study, at one and six month intervals, and again two months after the treatment had ended.

The researchers found that statins did not affect BP after one month of treatment, but showed a significant impact after six months.

Systolic BP was reduced by an average of 2.2mmHg and diastolic BP by an average of 2.4mmHg among those taking the statins.

However, two months after treatment was stopped the beneficial effect on BP was lost.

Lead researcher Professor Beatrice Golomb, from the University of California, said: 'Statins address not just lipids but also affect BP, a second CVD risk factor.

'It might be in part through a lowering of BP that statins can reduce stroke and other cardiovascular endpoints.'

But statins should not be prescribed in substitution for other BP medications, added Professor Golomb.

Arch Intern Med 2008; 7: 721-7

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