Regular use of common cholesterol-lowering drug linked to reduction of COVID-19 severity, risk of death


Space-filling model of the cholesterol molecule. Credit: RedAndr/Wikipedia

Commonly used cholesterol-lowering statins may reduce the risk of death and severity of COVID-19 disease, suggests a study of more than 38,000 patients presented at the Anesthesiology 2022 Annual Meeting.

“While there is no ‘magic bullet’ to help very ill COVID-19 patients, statins decrease inflammation, which can help reduce the severity of the disease,” said Ettore Crimi. , MD, MBA, lead study author and Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, University of Central Florida, Orlando. “The results of our study clearly showed that regular statin use is associated with a reduced risk of death and better outcomes in hospitalized patients with COVID-19.”

The retrospective study is one of the most comprehensive on regular statin use in patients with COVID-19. The researchers analyzed the electronic medical records of 38,875 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 at 185 hospitals in the United States between January 1 and September 30, 2020. Of these patients, 30% regularly used statins to treat high cholesterol. Statin users had a 37% lower risk of dying from COVID-19 than those who did not use statins. Additionally, regular statin users were significantly less likely to be discharged to hospice, be admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), or develop blood clots. They also had shorter hospital stays and spent less time on a ventilator.

While COVID-19 itself causes inflammation, in some cases the immune system creates additional inflammation by responding too aggressively to the infection. This extreme reaction causes much of the damage to the body, including breathing difficulties and damage to the lungs, kidneys, heart, brain and vascular system. The anti-inflammatory actions of statins “chill the process” so the disease isn’t as severe, Dr. Crimi said.

According to the American Heart Association, one in four Americans over the age of 40 take statins to lower their cholesterol and reduce their risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases, making them the one of the most commonly prescribed drugs.

“This research illustrates the importance of evaluating drugs that could be repurposed to help patients in ways other than their intended use,” Dr. Crimi said. “Our results suggest that statins may be a cost-effective additional solution against COVID-19 disease severity and should be investigated further.”

Statins are unlikely to be helpful in reducing COVID-19 mortality or severity

Provided by the American Society of Anesthesiologists

Quote: Regular use of common cholesterol-lowering drug linked to reduced severity of COVID-19, risk of death (2022, October 22) Retrieved October 22, 2022 from 10-regular-common-linked-to-cholesterol-lowering-drugs.html

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