Slowing the Progression of Multiple Sclerosis with Statins

April 1, 2014
Michael R. Page, PharmD, RPh

Researchers in the United Kingdom have shown a reduction in the rate of brain atrophy progression with use of 80-mg simvastatin daily in patients with secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis over a 2-year period.

This article was originally published on the Specialty Pharmacy Times website.

Results of the phase-2 MS-STAT trial indicate that the cholesterol-lowering drug simvastatin may reduce the progression of brain atrophy in patients with secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS).

SPMS is a subtype of multiple sclerosis that occurs after the initial phase of MS, relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). RRMS includes relapsing episodes punctuated by gradual worsening in the baseline symptoms of the disease.

Over approximately 25 years, RRMS progresses to SPMS in approximately 90% of patients. In patients with SPMS, relapses are superimposed over progressively worsening baseline symptoms between each relapse.

Until now, no treatment has shown a definitive effect on slowing the course of disease progression in patients with SPMS. The phase-2 MS-STAT trial included 140 patients with SPMS between the ages of 18 and 65. Patients received 80 mg of simvastatin daily (n = 70) or placebo (n = 70). Over the trial course, assessments of efficacy occurred at months 1, 6, 12, and 24.

In a press release, lead author Dr Jeremy Chataway noted the primary endpoint, stating, "Our main measure of success was to reduce the rate of brain atrophy."

Click here to access the full-text version of this article on the Specialty Pharmacy Times website.