Withdrawal of statins and risk of subarachnoid hemorrhage

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Vascular endothelium, which can be affected by statins, is believed to play a substantial role in subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Our objective was to estimate the association between use and withdrawal of statins and the risof SAH. METHODS: We conducted a population-based case-control study within the PHARMO database. A case was defined as a person hospitalized for SAH (ICD-9-CM code 430) in the period January 1, 1998 to December 31, 2006. Ten randomly chosen controls werematched to each case on age, gender, and calendar date. RESULTS: During the study period 1004 incident cases of SAH were identified. Current use of statins did not significantly decrease the risk of SAH (OR=0.77, 95% CI 0.55 to 1.07). The odds ratio forrecent withdrawal compared to nonusers was 1.62 (95% CI 0.96 to 2.73). Compared to current use, recent withdrawal was associated with an increased risk of SAH (OR=2.34, 95% CI 1.35 to 4.05). Interaction analysis showed that the effect of statin withdrawal was highest in patients who had also recently stopped antihypertensive drugs (OR=6.77, 95% CI 2.10 to 21.8). CONCLUSIONS: Current use of statins seems to lower the risk of SAH, although the reduction was not significant in new users. Statin withdrawalincreased the risk of SAH by a factor 2, even more in patients who had also recently stopped their antihypertensive treatment.

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