Statins may prevent pneumonia, according to a new study in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). Researchers from Israel and the United States analyzed data from the JUPITER trial, a randomized, double-blind trial with placebo control groups conducted at 1315 sites in 26 countries to look at the use of the statin rosuvastatin in disease prevention. The trial involved 17 802 men aged 50 years or older and women aged 60 years or older without a history of heart disease or diabetes.
Patients were randomized to receive either a placebo or rosuvastatin, a statin used to treat high cholesterol levels and prevent heart disease. During a median follow-up period of almost two years, the researchers found that 214 people in the statin group compared with 257 people in the placebo group contracted pneumonia.
"Participants randomly assigned to receive rosuvastatin had a modest reduction in the incidence of pneumonia compared with participants assigned to the placebo group," writes Dr. Victor Novack, Soroka University Medical Center, Israel and coauthors.
"Although a number of observational studies have suggested a protective effect of statin use on the incidence of pneumonia and other infections, we are not aware of any evidence from prior randomized trials that specifically evaluated this question," state the authors.
The authors conclude that the "absolute risk reduction observed in this primary prevention setting was small, and the effects on infection may be greater in other settings."
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Paper online: www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.111017