Another day, another study about how statins are saving the world, one study at a time- this time, the cholesterol-lowering drugs are seem to have been pegged for a novel use.
In recent studies, statins have emerged as of potential benefit to everyone over the age of 50, and have also shown to be helpful in reducing rheumatoid arthritis. However, the drugs also snagged some new warnings along the way in March, carrying newly labeled risks involving blood sugar and memory loss.
But a new study involving transplant recipients in Switzerland has lodged itself in the “pro” column, demonstrating some pretty strong benefits for heart transplant patients after surgery.
The study was presented in Belgrade at the Heart Failure Congress, which is a meeting of the European Society of Cardiology, and involves cancer risk in heart transplant patients and the use of statins.
According to the study, cancer is the leading cause of death among patients who come through the initial heart transplant surgery as well as recovery.
Per the Telegraph, statins’ “effect [on cancer after transplants] did not depend on the patient’s cholesterol levels suggesting the drug may have other effects that have not been discovered until now.” Statins study lead author Dr. Frank Enseleit is deputy director of heart failure and transplantation at University Hospital Zurich, and he explained that statin therapy could start six months after transplant, and patients could continue to take statins indefinitely:
“We have shown that statin therapy prevents cancer in heart transplant recipients and it is known that statins also prevent graft atherosclerosis. We have to conclude that it should be a lifelong therapy in heart transplant recipients.”
In the study, patients taking statins had a cancer rate of 22%, versus 42% in those not taking statins.