BACKGROUND: A previous phase 2 trial has suggested that statins might delay brain atrophy in secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.
OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of atorvastatin add-on therapy on cerebral atrophy in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.
METHODS: This randomised, placebo-controlled study compared atorvastatin 40 mg or placebo add-on therapy to interferon β1b for 24 months. Brain magnetic resonance imaging, multiple sclerosis functional composite score, Rao neuropsychological battery and expanded disability status scale were evaluated over 24 months.
RESULTS: A total of 154 patients were randomly assigned, 75 in the atorvastatin and 79 in the placebo arms, with a comparable drop-out rate (overall 23.4%). Brain atrophy over 2 years was not different in the two arms (-0.38% and -0.32% for the atorvastatin and placebo groups, respectively). Relapse rate, expanded disability status scale, multiple sclerosis functional composite score or cognitive changes were not different in the two arms. Patients withdrawing from the study had a higher number of relapses in the previous 2 years (P=0.04) and a greater probability of relapsing within 12 months.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that the combination of atorvastatin and interferon β1b is not justified in early relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis and adds to the body of evidence indicating an absence of significant radiological and clinical benefit of statins in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.
- Journal Article