Large study of hypertensive patients shows statin users are more likely to have BP below 140/90.


Statin use is associated with higher rates of BP control, according to researchers.

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A team led by Dana E. King, MD, of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston studied 2,584 hypertensive patients aged 40 years and older with no history of CVD. The patient participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2002, which looked at a nationally representative sample of the non-institutionalized Americans. Of the 2,584 subjects, 14.2% were using statins.


The study showed that 52.2% of statin users had their BP under control (defined as a BP below 140/90 mm Hg) compared with 38% of subjects who did not take statins, the investigators reported in the American Journal of Hypertension (2007;20:937-941).


Additionally, after adjusting for age, race, gender, BMI, and diabetes, statin users were twice as likely as nonusers to have their BP under control. After further adjustment for exercise, smoking, low-salt diet, and use of antihypertensive medications, statin users were 46% more likely to have their BP under control.


Statins have anti-inflammatory effects, so the investigators adjusted for levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation. This had a minimal effect on the association. “Thus, the relationship of statin use and blood pressure may not be due to inflammation but to other mechanisms such as effects on the renin-angiotensin system or endothelial vasoreactivity,” the authors noted.


“Another possibility is that CRP may not be an accurate measure of the anti-inflammatory activity of statins, although CRP is generally considered the best available measure of vascular inflammation.”


The association between statin use and BP control was strongest among individuals who used statins as well as antihypertensive drugs, the researchers observed.


Statin use was significantly more prevalent among whites than African Americans and more prevalent among diabetics than non-diabetics. Furthermore, more statin users than nonusers were using antihypertensive medication (74.9% vs. 50.1%) and were on a low-salt diet (53.2% vs. 38.2%).


In conclusion, the authors noted that the results of their study, together with findings of previous prospective studies on statin use and BP levels, support the conclusion that statin use is associated with a BP below 140/90 mm Hg.