Statins May Reduce Risk of Post-Stroke Seizures

Study results show patients who took statins following ischemic stroke were significantly less likely to have post-stroke early-onset seizures.

The leading cause of late-life diagnosis of seizures is post-stroke complications. Prophylaxis with antiepileptic drugs is not currently recommended, and post-stroke seizures are uncharted treatment territory in terms of dosing and treatment duration. The journal Neurology has published a study that indicates that statins may reduce risk of post-stroke seizures.

The American Heart Association recommended statins as a standard element of acute stroke treatment due to their apparent neuroprotective role after stroke and. Some researchers think that this neuroprotective effect may modify the epileptogenesis process. Previous studies suggest this neuroprotection develops quickly, often within a day or 2.

In this study, researchers looked at more than 1800 patients who had experienced a first-ever ischemic stroke. All patients had been seizure-free before their strokes. They followed the patients for an average of 2.5 years to see if statin use and post-stroke early-onset seizures or post-stroke epilepsy were related in any way.

Sixty-three (3.4%) patients had post-stroke early-onset seizures. An additional 91 (5%) developed post-stroke epilepsy.

Patients who took statins were significantly less likely to have post-stroke early-onset seizures. This finding was pronounced in who used a statin only in the acute phase.

The incidence of post-stroke epilepsy among those who did not have an acute seizure was only 4%.The incidence of PSE among patients with acute seizure was 31.7%. Statin use and post-stroke epilepsy in the overall group did not seem to be linked in any way. But in the group of 63 patients who developed early-onset seizures, statin use reduced risk of post-stroke epilepsy.

None of the patients were prescribed anticonvulsant drugs due to a lack of conclusive evidence that they work, and issues of poor tolerance to their potential adverse effects in older people (mean age in this study was around 63 years).

The researchers conclude that especially in the acute phase, statin use may reduce the risk of post-stroke early onset seizures and prevent progression to chronic epilepsy.