Statins Slow MS Progression In Clinical Trial

shutterstock_144737332A recent clinical trial indicates that statins may be effective in trying to slow down the progression of multiple sclerosis. It may only take some time before doctors can use another weapon to combat a disease that currently has no known cure. The disease progression can wreck havoc at its advanced stages, known as secondary progressive MS. It can cause MS patients to gradually become more disabled.

Researchers from the Imperial College London conducted a two-year clinical trial that involves 140 patients with secondary progressive MS. They were treated with simvastatin during the course of the study. The researchers found out that the said drug slowed down brain shrinkage, which is said to contribute to the mental and physical impairments. As added support to the finding, MS patients treated with simvastatin also did better on movement tests and questionnaires that evaluates for disability as compared to patients taking a placebo.

According to Dr. Richard Nicholas, from the Department of Medicine at Imperial and co-author of the study, “At the moment, we don’t have anything that can stop patients from becoming more disabled once MS reaches the progressive phase. Discovering that statins can help slow that deterioration is quite a surprise. This is a promising finding, particularly as statins are already cheap and widely used.”

Dr. Nicholas conducted the clinical trial with Dr. Jeremy Chataway, previously with the Department of Medicine at Imperial and now at the University College London.

Statins are common drugs used to treat people with heart disease and elevated levels of cholesterol. But it is currently not clear why they also have a beneficial effect on secondary progressive MS.

“We need to do a bigger study with more patients, possibly starting in the earlier phase of the disease, to fully establish how effective it is,” Dr. Nicholas further added.

Source: Medical News Today

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