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Statin Drug Use in COPD Patients Linked to Mortality Reductions

Alison Rodriguez
The use of statin drugs in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is associated with benefits including decreased lung-related and all-cause mortality, according to a research.
The use of statin drugs in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with benefits including decreased lung-related and all-cause mortality, according to a research.

In a study recently published in Chest, researchers looked to evaluate the potential benefits of statin drugs for patients with COPD, as individuals with COPD maintain a greater prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The study included population-based administrative data from the province of British Columbia, Canada, to investigate patient’s prescription records.

“Similarly, patients with COPD are at increased risk of CVD-related mortality, which may increase as the severity of the COPD worsens,” the authors explained. “The importance of CVD and other comorbidities in patients with COPD is such that all-cause mortality has largely become the most relevant metric for outcomes in patients with COPD.”

Patients included in the study were at least 50 years old and had received at least 3 prescriptions for an anticholinergic or short-acting beta-agonist in a 12-month window between 1998 and 2007. Furthermore, from the index date, the COPD patient’s exposure to statin drugs was considered through a 1-year exposure ascertainment window.

“We assumed a class effect of statin drug exposure, which has been done previously in evaluating statin exposure for all-cause mortality in a population-based analysis,” the authors wrote. “Patients who received a statin drug within 365 days of their study index date were classified as exposed to statin drugs.”

Of the 39,678 COPD patients in the study, 7775 (19.6%) had received at least 1 statin drug in the exposure ascertainment window. Additionally, there were 1446 all-cause deaths in the 1-year period following the exposure ascertainment.

The researchers also found a 21% reduction in the risk of all-cause mortality with statin use, while also finding a significant reduction in lung-related mortality.

“…this population-based analysis showed that statin drug use reduced all-cause mortality among patients with COPD. Moreover, this association persisted across several measures of statin drug exposure,” the researchers concluded. “Our findings, in conjunction with previously reported evidence, suggest that there may be a specific subtype of patient with COPD who may benefit from statin drug use.”

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