Dec 9, 2008 (foodconsumer.org) -- Women during pregnancy should avoid taking
statins of any kind and using such drugs could lead to serious congenital
anomalies in children of pregnant women, a study published in the Journal of
Cellular and Molecular Medicine suggests.
guidelines currently recommend that pregnant women should avoid statins, but
the advice is based on the assumption that cholesterol is essential for normal
fetal development and clinicians do not know that using statins during
pregnancy could do more harm than simply lowering cholesterol.
2007 study has already suggested that fat soluble or lipophilic statins may
increase the risk of congenital anomalies in children of pregnant women.
But it is unknown whether water-soluble
statins would have the same detrimental effects.
new study led by researchers from the University of Manchester has now showed
that water-soluble or hydrophilic statins like prevastatin can also affect
placental development potentially resulting in worse pregnancy outcomes.
and type 2 diabetes patients are often given statins to lower circulating
levels of cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. The study suggests
that pregnant women should not be given any type of statin.
Melissa Westwood at the Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre at St Mary's
Hospital, Manchester said the actions of statins are not limited to the
regulation of cholesterol levels and they can affect the production of other
chemicals in the body as well.
study examined the effects that both lipophilic and hydrophilic statins had on
a key biological system that is crucial for maintaining the normal function of
the placenta, which acts as the nutrient-waste exchange barrier between mother
Westwood and colleagues tested two statins, one water soluble and the other fat
soluble in a placental-tissue model.
they found the fat -soluble statin, cerivastatin reduced growth of the placenta,
which was expected.
they also found that prevastatin, the water soluble stain which had been
believed to be suitable for use in pregnancy, had the same detrimental effect.
results clearly show that the effect of statins on the placenta is not
dependent on their lipophilicity as had previously been suggested," said
hydrophilic statins have not been reported to increase the incidence of fetal
malformations, our research suggests that they will have a detrimental effect
on placental growth, which is likely to result in poor pregnancy outcome.
findings justify the recommendation that pregnant women should avoid the use of
any type of statin once they plan to start a family or when a pregnancy is
suspected or confirmed.
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