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Clin Neuropharmacol. 2011 Jul-Aug;34(4):141-7. doi: 10.1097/WNF.0b013e3182206c2f.

The atorvastatin during ischemic stroke study: a pilot randomized controlled trial.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Aging and Nephrological Diseases-Stroke Unit, University of Bologna and S.Orsola-Malpighi Hospital, Bologna, Italy.



Statins have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticoagulant, and profibrinolytic properties that might play a useful role in the acute phase of ischemic stroke. This pilot study assessed the possible neuroprotective action of high-dose atorvastatin administration during the first week after an ischemic stroke, to obtain data for planning a wider multicenter study.


Sixty-two patients with ischemic stroke, aged 75.3 (SD, ±11.9) years (68% women), were randomized into a placebo (n = 31) and an atorvastatin 80 mg/d (n = 31) group. The double-blind treatment lasted 7 days. The primary end point was a decrease of National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score of 4 points or higher after 7 days. Infarct volume measured on computed tomographic scan after 3 days and a modified Rankin Scale of less than 2 at 3 months were secondary end points.


There was no difference in the primary end point between the 2 groups (odds ratio, atorvastatin vs placebo, 0.74; 95% confidence interval, 0.26-2.17). Infarct volume also was similar in the 2 groups. Instead, there were more patients with modified Rankin Scale of less than 2 at 3 months in the atorvastatin than in the placebo group (adjusted odds ratio, 6.7; 95% confidence interval, 1.0-45.0; P = 0.05). This prevalence concerned only the subgroup with mild strokes (National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale, ≤10; 53.8% vs 15.4%, respectively; P = 0.04). Atorvastatin was well tolerated.


This pilot study was unable to show any short-term benefit of atorvastatin during the acute phase of ischemic stroke. However, it suggested a possible favorable functional effect at 3 months in the least severe strokes, which could be the primary end point for a future multicenter trial.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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