Effects of policosanol on patients with ischemic stroke: a pilot open study.
Indian Pediatr. 2005 Sep;42(9):877-84. PMID: 17004902
Stroke is a major health problem worldwide. Its pharmacological management includes thrombolytic therapy for the acute phase and antiplatelet drugs for stroke recovery and prevention. Statins can help in the acute phase and in preventing stroke in secondary prevention patients. Policosanol is a cholesterol-lowering drug with concomitant antiplatelet effects, with protective effects in stroke models. This observational study investigated the effects of policosanol (20 mg/day) administered during the acute phase and for 5 years later on the neurological recovery of patients with ischemic stroke treated with antiplatelets and vitamins. After hospital discharge, patients were followed up every 3 (first year) and 6 (thereafter) months. Neurological improvement was assessed with the modified Canadian Neurological Scale. Adverse events were recorded. Fifty patients were included; all completed the study. Neurological score improved throughout the study. No patient died, and most [40 (80.0%)] did not experience new vascular events; only one (2.0%) suffered a new stroke, and two (4.0%) suffered more than one transient ischemic attack. The time to the first recurrent event was 46.2 months. Policosanol persistently lowered serum total cholesterol, with such reduction correlating with the neurological improvement (R = 0.995253301). Triglycerides were unchanged. Treatment was well tolerated. Policosanol administered to patients suffering ischemic stroke treated with aspirin and vitamins showed good results on neurological outcomes and recurrent events. This study, however, has limitations, since it was open and uncontrolled, and patients also consumed aspirin and vitamins. New randomized, controlled studies are needed to assess the usefulness of policosanol in stroke management.