According to a newly-released study, statins could reduce amputation and even death risks in patients suffering from peripheral artery disease (PAD). The positive effect of taking statins, the widely used cholesterol-lowering drugs, was seen to increase with the dosage.
Peripheral arteries disease causes, in sufferers, the narrowing of the peripheral arteries of the head, stomach, arms and legs and according to experts, it is the second cardiovascular condition in terms of impact, after heart disease. However, by comparison PAD is currently understudied and does not receive sufficient recognition, despite affecting a large number of people.
The recent study, conducted at the Emory University School of Medicine based in Atlanta, Georgia, comes to address the lack of research on PAD patients’ use of statins. The survey, led by Shipra Arya, followed 208,000 veterans suffering from PAD for an average of 5.2 years in order to assess their amputation or death risks. Dubbed by Arya “the next cardiovascular epidemic,” PDA narrows the arteries that transport blood, affecting the sufferers’ head, limbs and internal organs.
The participants in the study were grouped into three categories: those taking high doses of statins, those receiving low to moderate doses and those not taking statins. Upon assessment, PAD sufferers taking low to moderate doses of statins were found to have 22% lover risk of amputation or death than veterans not taking statins. Those taking high doses of the cholesterol-lowering drugs were found to have their risk of amputation decrease by 33% and their risk of death by 29%, respectively.
This is the largest population-based study every conducted on PDA sufferers and suggests that patients should be prescribed high doses of statins, provided that they can tolerate it, along with other medication upon diagnosis. The accompanying medical management should include antiplatelet therapy, which prevents clotting, and sufferers should also become involved in a walking program and give up smoking. The study was presented at the 2016 Peripheral Vascular Disease Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association’s Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.
Statins are some of the most widely-used drugs and are prescribed to patients suffering from high cholesterol levels. Statins come under many names, however, atorvastatin, manufactured by Pfizer, is not only the most common on the market, but also the best-selling pharmaceutical product in history, a title it gained following record sales recorded in 2003.