Statins may reduce mortality in patients hospitalized with influenza

December 14, 2011

The two main ways to prevent and control influenza today are annual immunization and antiviral drugs. A team of investigators has found that statins, cholesterol-lowering drugs, may offer an additional treatment to complement these approaches and reduce mortality among patients hospitalized with influenza. The findings are published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases and are now available online.

In an observational study led by Meredith L. Vandermeer, MPH, then with the Oregon Public Health Division in Portland, researchers used data for hospitalized adults during the 2007-2008 to evaluate the association between patients prescribed statins and influenza-related deaths. The data were drawn from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Emerging Infections Program, which conducts active surveillance for patients hospitalized with confirmed influenza in 59 counties in 10 states.

Among 3,043 hospitalized patients with laboratory-confirmed influenza, 33 percent were given statin medications prior to or during hospitalization. After adjusting for various factors, patients not receiving statins were almost twice as likely to die from influenza as those who did receive the medication.

"Our study found that statins were associated with a decrease in odds of dying among cases hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza, when adjusted for age, race, cardiovascular disease, , renal disease, receipt, and initiation of antivirals within 48 hours of admission," the study authors wrote.

Because the study was observational, the authors noted there may have been confounding factors that were not found through the review of patients' charts. Researchers also did not attempt to track the amount of statin use by patients during their entire hospital stay. would best address the potential benefits of statins for influenza treatment, the researchers concluded, and "would allow for examination of such issues as dose response, use in younger age groups, and identifying the most effective class of statins."

In an accompanying editorial, Edward E. Walsh, MD, of the Infectious Diseases Division at Rochester General Hospital in Rochester, N.Y., noted that there have been previous observational studies suggesting statins may reduce mortality from influenza and pneumonia. "One of the important strengths of the current study," Dr. Walsh added, "is that only patients with laboratory-confirmed influenza were included in the analysis," avoiding the uncertainty of disease misclassification possible in other methods.

Explore further: Influenza vaccination during pregnancy protects newborns

Related Stories

Influenza vaccination during pregnancy protects newborns

June 23, 2011

Infants born to mothers who received the influenza (flu) vaccine while pregnant are nearly 50 percent less likely to be hospitalized for the flu than infants born to mothers who did not receive the vaccine while pregnant, ...

Recommended for you

Zika virus infection alters human and viral RNA

October 20, 2016

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have discovered that Zika virus infection leads to modifications of both viral and human genetic material. These modifications—chemical tags known as ...

Food-poisoning bacteria may be behind Crohn's disease

October 19, 2016

People who retain a particular bacterium in their gut after a bout of food poisoning may be at an increased risk of developing Crohn's disease later in life, according to a new study led by researchers at McMaster University.

Neurodevelopmental model of Zika may provide rapid answers

October 19, 2016

A newly published study from researchers working in collaboration with the Regenerative Bioscience Center at the University of Georgia demonstrates fetal death and brain damage in early chick embryos similar to microcephaly—a ...

Scientists uncover new facets of Zika-related birth defects

October 17, 2016

In a study that could one day help eliminate the tragic birth defects caused by Zika virus, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have elucidated how the virus attacks the brains of newborns, ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1 / 5 (1) Dec 14, 2011
Yet another convoluted attempt to justify the multibillion dollar statin industry.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.