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Lipitor for Multiple Sclerosis
August 2002

Q. I heard recently that there have been some indications of improvement in Multiple Sclerosis while taking Lipitor. Have you heard of this? Can you give me resources to look into it further?

A. MS affects about 250,000 people in the U.S. It is a neurologic disease of unknown cause, that can be quite variable as to the symptoms and severity. It most commonly begins between age 20 and 40. The symptoms occur from inflammation in brain tissue that then damages that tissue, so drugs used to treat MS often aim to modify or suppress the inflammation.

Lipitor is an effective drug at lowering cholesterol and lowering the risk of heart disease. At first glance, it would not seem that it could have a role in MS, yet there are possibilities. Lipitor and other drugs like it have strong anti-inflammation effects and stabilize damaged tissue. For example, there are cardio-protective effects even before the cholesterol is lowered in patients taking this medication. There are not yet any published reports that have studied this in a formal way, but I found one article that you can order from a hospital or medical school library:

Potential neurological value of statins increases. Nat Med. 2002 Jun;8(6):541.

Website references:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/multiplesclerosis.html

http://www.nationalmssociety.org/

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