For the past decade, small preliminary studies have suggested that statins may be helpful as a disease-modifying treatment or add-on therapy for patients living with MS or those who have experienced a first neurological event. Early results were promising and suggest that MS patients who also take statins have less nerve damage over time. Researchers found that “statins inhibited the formation of lymphocytes and monocytes, immune-system cells which cause inflammation by attacking the body’s nerve cells” in people with MS.
In a small study in 2008, the MS patients treated with atorvastatin (Lipitor) seemed to get worse. Ten of the 17 patients who received either 40 mg or 80 mg of atorvastatin had either a relapse or a new lesion on MRI as compared to only 1 of 9 patients taking placebo who experienced a relapse or had active lesions on MRI. The authors concluded that atorvastatin (40 mg or 80 mg) taken with interferon beta-1a (Rebif) worsened the MS. This was disappointing news.
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MS and Cholesterol: Will Statin Medications be Useful in Treating MS