Further evidence has been found by researchers at the UK’s University of Leicester and University of Bristol to suggest statins could “significantly reduce” the occurrence of blood clotting in certain parts of the body.
The research team analysed several studies previously carried out on the cholesterol-lowering pill and found the drug might have a potential role to play in lowering the recurring risk of venous thromboembolism.
The study was supported by NIHR Collaboration for Leadership for Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) East Midlands and published in the European Heart Journal.
It follows a similar study published in January from the same research team, which suggested statins reduced the threat of the condition by 15–25%.
Speaking about the latest study, co-investigator Kamlesh Khunti (professor of Primary Care Diabetes & Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester, director NIHR CLAHRC East Midlands and co-director of the Leicester Diabetes Centre, Leicester, UK), said: “There have been suggestions that statins may have a potential role in preventing venous thromboembolism, but the evidence has not been consistent.
“We wanted to explore the subject further, by bringing all the studies together in a bid to evaluate the association between statins and reoccurring venous thromboembolism. It is important we know as much as we can about this condition, because it is thought it kills one person from around the world every six seconds.
“Although serious, most blood clots can be completely avoided, with the right care. However, treatment has a considerable economic burden on the UK’s health service as it is thought to cost approximately £640m to manage the condition.”
During the process, a pooled analysis was carried out on eight studies, involving more than 103,500 participants, which were based on statins and venous thromboembolism.
Lead researcher Setor Kunutsor (University of Bristol’s Musculoskeletal Research Unit, School of Clinical Sciences, Bristol, UK) said: “Although our research has not identified a cause of venous thromboembolism, they do underscore a potential role of statin therapy when dealing with the condition.
“Our research shows accumulating evidence that statins may have a potential role to play in both primary and secondary prevention of venous thromboembolism.”
It is hoped the discovery could potentially lead to new guidelines and an expansion of the use of treatment, which is already established in cardiovascular disease prevention.
NIHR CLAHRC East Midlands is a collaboration of NHS, universities, patients and industry turning research into cost-saving and high-quality care through cutting-edge innovation.