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Statins linked to lower risk of death from COVID-19, study suggests

Research suggests that people with COVID-19 who take statins are less likely to die from the disease than those who do not.

Open access article

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has made this article free to access in order to help healthcare professionals stay informed about an issue of national importance.

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Use of statins has been linked to lower risk of death from COVID-19

Patients hospitalised with COVID-19 who take statins are less likely to die than those who do not, a retrospective study published in Cell Metabolism (24 June 2020) suggests[1].

Researchers looked at data from 13,981 patients with COVID-19 — 1,219 of whom received statins while they were in hospital. Some 319 patients taking statins were also treated with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEi) or angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) for hypertension management.

They found that the 28-day all-cause mortality rate was 5.2% for those receiving statins, compared with 9.4% for matched patients who were not receiving statins. This equated to a 42% reduction in the risk of death (adjusted hazard ratio 0.58, 95% confidence interval, 0.43–0.80).

Measurement of inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein, interleukin-6 and neutrophil counts, indicated a lower inflammatory response among patients in the statin group.

No significant association was found between ACEi/ARB therapy and 28-day mortality in individuals with hypertension and statin treatment.

There has been speculation about whether statins could improve outcomes in COVID-19 as a result of their anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects, the authors said, adding that the findings provide supportive evidence for the safety of statins, or combination of a statin with an ACEi/ARB, for treatment in patients with COVID-19.

“Further randomised controlled trials to prospectively explore the efficacy of statins on COVID-19 outcomes are urgently needed,” they concluded.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2020.20208138

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