Pfizer

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said the results of a clinical study showed that patients who received the company's cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor after being treated for a mild heart attack or severe cardiac chest pain were 59% less likely to have a nonfatal stroke within the following four months.

The patients who were treated with Lipitor were 50% less likely to experience either a fatal or nonfatal stroke than those who were given a placebo. The study involved 3,086 patients who received either Lipitor or a placebo for 16 weeks. The company said 12 patients in the Lipitor group had a fatal or nonfatal stroke, compared with 24 occurrences in the placebo group. Nine of the patients had a nonfatal stroke in the Lipitor group, compared with 22 people who received a placebo.

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Pfizer said the reduction in strokes occurred in patients regardless of age, gender, baseline cholesterol levels or whether they had other risk factors such as high blood pressure or diabetes.

Shares of Pfizer gained 7 cents, or 0.2%, to $39.02 at the 4 p.m. close of

New York Stock Exchange

trading.