It is a known fact that statin therapy helps prevent initial stroke, however, it was not determined until now whether it also helps in case of recurrent strokes. A latest study conducted by researchers at the Hiroshima University in Japan has proved that it does have an impact on rate of stroke recurrence.

Statins are administered to patients with high cholesterol levels in the blood. The latter is associated with the occurrence of stroke. Therefore, statins help prevent stroke in patients with no history of prior stroke.

The results of the new study called The Japan Statin Treatment Against Recurrent Stroke (J-STARS) suggest that a traditional clinical statin called pravastatin reduces the recurrence of strokes and respective subtypes in non-cardioembolic stroke patients.

During the study, the research team recruited 1,578 patients, who had previously experienced a non-cardioembolic ischemic stroke. The subjects were randomly assigned to either the control group or the pravastatin group.

After a follow-up period of five years, the researchers found that the incidence of recurrent strokes was about 2.6 percent a year in both the groups. While there was no significant difference in recurrence of stroke in a majority of stroke subtypes, the pravastatin group clearly showed less frequency of the onset of atherothrombotic infarction.

The study results have raised a hypothesis that statins may help reduce the occurrence of stroke due to larger artery atherosclerosis.

"Further studies are required to determine whether such guidelines are applicable for Asians. Although the current study has certain limitations, J-STARS can contribute to the establishment of guidelines for using statins to prevent strokes caused by larger artery atherosclerosis," said the principal investigator, Professor Masayasu Matsumoto, in a press release.

The complete details of the study have been published in the journal eBioMedicine.