Aims: The pleiotropic effects of statins on recurrent stroke remain unclear. We investigated the effects of pravastatin on high-sensitivity C-reactive proteins (Hs-CRP) in ischemic stroke, and explored the impact of Hs-CRP on recurrent stroke and vascular events.
Methods: This randomized open-label trial was ancillary to the J-STARS trial. One thousand and ninety-five patients with non-cardiogenic ischemic stroke were assigned to the pravastatin (n=545) or control groups (n=550). The primary and secondary endpoints were serum Hs-CRP reduction and stroke recurrence, including both ischemic and hemorrhagic ones, respectively. Onset of vascular events and each stroke subtype in relation to Hs-CRP levels were also determined.
Results: In the pravastatin treatment group, Hs-CRP levels (median 711 µg/L, IQR 344–1500) significantly decreased 2 months later (median 592 µg/L, IQR 301–1390), and they remained significantly lower until the end of the study. However, in the control group, baseline Hs-CRP levels were similar to those 2 months later. The reduction of Hs-CRP levels from the baseline to 2 months in the pravastatin group was statistically significant compared with the control (p=0.007). One SD increase in log-transformed Hs-CRP increased the risk of stroke recurrence (HR 1.17, 95% CI 0.97–1.40) and vascular events (HR 1.30, 95% CI 1.12–1.51). With an Hs-CRP cut-off of 1000 µg/L, higher Hs-CRP significantly increased the risk of recurrent stroke (HR 1.50, 95% CI 1.03–2.17)and vascular events (HR 1.68, 95% CI 1.23–2.29).
Conclusion: In non-cardiogenic ischemic stroke, pravastatin treatment may reduce vascular inflammation as assessed by Hs-CRP, and higher Hs-CRP levels appeared to increase the risk of recurrent stroke and vascular events.