Simvastatin is used to treat high cholesterol, but has also shown promise in MS. It’s being tested in a phase 3 clinical trial.

>> Read more about the latest trial

Current phase of trial: phase 3

Type of MS: secondary progressive MS

How does simvastatin work?

We're funding research to understand how simvastatin works in secondary progressive MS.

Latest research

Phase 3 trial - MS-STAT2

>>Read more about MS-STAT2

Phase 2 trial - MS-STAT

The trial involved 140 people with secondary progressive MS and compared two doses of simvastatin with a placebo (dummy) drug. Researchers found that people taking high dose simvastatin had

  • reduced brain atrophy (shrinkage)
  • better end of study disability scores compared with those taking placebo.

Results were published in the Lancet in March 2014.

Side effects

MS trials

In that phase 2 trial simvastatin was generally well tolerated and no one reported any major side effects. The phase 3 trial will now monitor the safety of simvastatin in a much larger number of people with MS.

General side effects

Simvastatin has been used to treat high cholesterol for many years. Commonly reported side effects include: dizziness, fainting, nosebleeds, joint or muscle pain, headache, nausea and digestive problems.

High dose simvastatin

In June 2011 the Food and Drug Administration, which is the US drugs regulator, issued new safety recommendations for simvastatin.

It said that muscle injury (or myopathy) is a risk associated with the 80mg/day higher dose, which will be used in MS-STAT2.

How does simvastatin compare with current therapies?

There are no licensed treatments that can slow or stop progression for people with secondary progressive MS.

When is simvastatin likely to become available?

A phase 3 trial will test if simvastatin could become a treatment for secondary progressive MS. This trial will take six years to complete and results are expected in 2023.

We will keep you updated on the progress of simvastatin. 

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