Coming off statins after a stroke raises the risk of suffering a second stroke within a year, but no difference was found when low and high-intensity drugs were compared, the Daily Mail has reported.
Statins are a group of medicines that can help lower the level of cholesterol in the blood, which decreases the risk of potentially dangerous hardening and narrowing of the arteries.
However, new figures show that less than half of stroke victims are given statin prescriptions.
The drug is commonly prescribed to patients at risk of heart attacks, heart disease, and stroke, but research found that many people stopped taking statins voluntarily because of the side effects, such as nausea and drowsiness.
Experts advised that those experiencing harsh side effects should seek a lower-intensity drug to protect themselves from deadly strokes and heart attacks.
Chang Gung University College of Medicine in Taiwan, which published the study, looked at people who had recently been hospitalised by stroke.
All participants were given statins within three months after they left hospital.
Compared to those who continued taking statins throughout the following year, the risk of having a second stroke increased by 42 per cent for patients who came off the drug.
But surprisingly, those on a lower-intensity drug saw no difference in risk to those on higher-intensity statins.
Study lead author Doctor Meng Lee said: “Based on our findings of this large group of patients in the real world, we believe that statins should be a lifelong therapy for ischemic stroke patients if a statin is needed to lower the patient’s cholesterol.”