Statin treatment after a recent TIA or stroke: is effectiveness shown in randomized clinical trials also observed in everyday clinical practice?

Hester Lingsma, Ewout Steyerberg, WJM (Wilma) Scholte op Reimer, Ron van Domburg, Diederik Dippel

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Aim and background - The benefit of statin treatment in patients with a previous ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) has been demonstrated in randomized clinical trials (RCT). However, the effectiveness in everyday clinical practice may be decreased because of a different patient population and less controlled setting. We aim to describe statin use in an unselected cohort of patients, identify factors related to statin use and test whether the effect of statins on recurrent vascular events and mortality observed in RCTs is also observed in everyday clinical practice. Methods - In 10 centers in the Netherlands, patients admitted to the hospital or visiting the outpatient clinic with a recent TIA or ischemic stroke were prospectively and consecutively enrolled between October 2002 and May 2003. Statin use was determined at discharge and during follow-up. We used logistic regression models to estimate the effect of statins on the occurrence of vascular events (stroke or myocardial infarction) and mortality within 3 years. We adjusted for confounders with a propensity score that relates patient characteristics to the probability of using statins. Results - Of the 751 patients in the study, 252 (34%) experienced a vascular event within 3 years. Age, elevated cholesterol levels and other cardiovascular risk factors were associated with statin use at discharge. After 3 years, 109 of 280 (39%) of the users at discharge had stopped using statins. Propensity score adjusted analyses showed a beneficial effect of statins on the occurrence of the primary outcome (odds ratio 0.8, 95% CI: 0.6-1.2). Conclusion - In our study, we found poor treatment adherence to statins. Nevertheless, after adjustment for the differences between statin users and non-statin users, the observed beneficial effect of statins on the occurrence of vascular events within 3 years, although not statistically significant, is compatible with the effect observed in clinical trials.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)15-20
Number of pages6
JournalActa Neurologica Scandinavica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Research programs

  • EMC COEUR-09
  • EMC NIHES-02-65-01

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