Effect of high-dose simvastatin on brain atrophy and disability in secondary progressive MS (MS-STAT)

Treatment, therapies and management:

This double-blinded, controlled trial was carried out in patients with secondary progressive MS. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive either 80mg simvastatin or placebo. Simvastatin is commonly used for the treatment of vascular disease, with immunomodulatory and neuroprotective properties.

The primary outcome was the annualised rate of whole-brain atrophy measured using serial volumetric MRI. 140 patients were included in the study.

The results showed that the mean annualised atrophy rate was significantly lower in the simvastatin group than in the placebo group. Simvastatin reduced the annualised rate of whole-brain atrophy by 43 per cent.

Overall, simvastatin was well tolerated. These results show that oral simvastatin at 80mg per day might be a treatment option for secondary progressive MS. This warrants further investigation in a larger phase 3 trial.

Authors: Chataway J, Schuerer N
Source: Lancet. 2014 Mar 18. pii: S0140-6736(13)62242-4. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)62242-4. [Epub ahead of print]
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