Cholesterol lowering and stroke: no longer room for pleiotropic effects of statins – confirmation from PCSK9 inhibitor studies

The relationship between cholesterol levels and stroke has been much less clear than between cholesterol levels and coronary heart disease. This is likely mostly due to the inadequate power of older studies and the low intensity of cholesterol-lowering interventions at that time available. Because a reduction in stroke has been, conversely, clearly observed in trials with statins, for long “pleiotropic” effects of such drugs, unrelated to cholesterol lowering, have been invoked. In a previous analysis of all randomized trials of cholesterol-lowering treatments reporting on stroke we had, however, reached the conclusion that any cholesterol lowering is related to a significant reduction of stroke, in a relationship that appeared to exist for both statin and non-statin cholesterol-lowering interventions.

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