December 4, 2012

Statin Ointment for Diabetic Wounds

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Simvastatin is the common statin drug known as Zocor. It is typically taken by mouth to reduce cholesterol. However when the drug is repurposed to speed diabetic wound healing, it’s applied topically.

Diabetic wounds can take a lot of time to heal. This is due, in part, to compromised blood flow in people with diabetes. Studies have confirmed that statins can support blood vessel development. Based on this established fact, researchers wanted to see if the application of  a simvastatin ointment would help accelerate diabetic wound healing.

The unorthodox use of the statin drug was shown to promote growth of new blood vessels without serious side effects. When the drug is applied to the skin it has less systemic side effects. Also, because the drug is not taken orally, there are fewer risks of severe stomach pain and nausea or vomiting.

How effective is the simvastatin ointment? In a comparison between a group of mice treated with simvastatin in petroleum jelly or petroleum jelly alone, the progress of wound healing was measured on day seven. The simvastatin-treated wounds were almost 80% healed. The wounds treated with only petroleum jelly were just over 50% healed.

The emphatic opinion of one doctor was that the simvastatin ointment could be quite effective as a treatment choice for superficial diabetic ulcers. Another doctor felt that because it is a mouse study and it is still early this is not the kind of information to write home about yet. Take it or leave it, this novel idea reinvents and old friend.

Without making a mountain out of a molehill, the American Diabetes Association reports that more than 60% of nontraumatic lower-limb amputations occur in people with diabetes. For these people, foot ulcers are a leading cause of amputation. A crazy concoction involving a statin and petroleum jelly could gives new meaning to the Vaseline Promise.

Visit Your Diabetes Health for more resources about health.