SAN FRANCISCO, April 16 (UPI) -- A cholesterol-lowering drug given to multiple patients in the early stages of the disease slowed its progress, U.S. researchers said.
Principal investigator Dr. Scott S. Zamvil, an associate professor of neurology at University of California, San Francisco, said the 12-month study involved 81 participants and 55.3 percent of those who received the daily dose of atorvastatin, or Lipitor, did not develop new brain lesions -- compared with 27.6 percent of the placebo group.
The phase trial II, multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled study led by Zamvil and Dr. Emmanuelle Waubant, also of the University of California, San Francisco, said the trial tested if the drug could be effective in delaying in those who have had a first attack.
"Our data is preliminary, and we need a larger study to confirm the effects of the drug and its magnitude," Waubant said in a statement. "It is important that we understand how statins impact the progression of multiple sclerosis in order to better inform physicians and patients of their effect."
The findings were presented at the annual American Academy of Neurology scientific meeting in Toronto.