Do statins increase the risk of intracerebral haemorrhage following stroke?

Statins and the risk of intracerebral haemorrhage in patients with stroke: systematic review and meta-analysis.

Ziff OJ, Banerjee G, Ambler G, Werring DJ.

JNNP 2019; 90:75-83.



Whether statins increase the risk of intracerebral haemorrhage (ICH) in patients with a previous stroke remains uncertain. This study addresses the evidence of statin therapy on ICH and other clinical outcomes in patients with previous ischaemic stroke (IS) or ICH.


A systematic literature review and meta-analysis was performed in conformity with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines to assess observational and randomised studies comparing statin therapy with control (placebo or no treatment) in patients with a previous ICH or IS. The risk ratios (RR) for the primary outcome (ICH) and secondary outcomes (IS, any stroke, mortality and function) were pooled using random effects meta-analysis according to stroke subtype.


Forty-three studies with a combined total of 317 291 patient-years of follow-up were included. In patients with previous ICH, statins had no significant impact on the pooled RR for recurrent ICH (1.04, 95% CI 0.86 to 1.25; n=23 695); however, statins were associated with significant reductions in mortality (RR 0.49, 95% CI 0.36 to 0.67; n=89 976) and poor functional outcome (RR 0.71, 95% CI 0.67 to 0.75; n=9113). In patients with previous IS, statins were associated with a non-significant increase in ICH (RR 1.36, 95% CI 0.96 to 1.91; n=103 525), but significantly lower risks of recurrent IS (RR 0.74, 95% CI 0.66 to 0.83; n=53 162), any stroke (RR 0.82, 95% CI 0.67 to 0.99; n=55 260), mortality (RR 0.68, 95% CI 0.50 to 0.92; n=74 648) and poor functional outcome (RR 0.83, 95% CI 0.76 to 0.91; n=34 700).


Irrespective of stroke subtype, there were non-significant trends towards future ICH with statins. However, this risk was overshadowed by substantial and significant improvements in mortality and functional outcome among statin users.

This paper is cited in the neurochecklist:

Intracerebral haemorrhage (ICH): causes and risk factors

Abstract link

By Solidach – With software of which I am the product manager, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

By Ibrahim Imam

I am a UK Neurologist keen on general neurology, but with an interest in neuromuscular diseases. I maintain the neurology searchable database, I also blog at I share and discuss current issues around clinical neurology. I hope you find my blogs enlightening, practical, and even entertaining.

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