Breaking News - Statins May Help Reduce Asthma Hospitalizations
For some time, researchers have been looking at the anti-inflammatory effects of statins on asthma, which is an inflammatory disease of the airways. Statins are medicines that are designed to treat high cholesterol levels.
A number of studies are examining this relationship at present. But, at the 2009 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology (AAAAI), results of a new study were presented. They showed dramatic reductions in emergency room (ER) visits and hospitalizations for asthma patients taking cholesterol-lowering statins in addition to common asthma treatments.
This study was jointly conducted by researchers from Medco Health Solutions, Inc. and Brigham and Women's Hospital, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. Here are the study highlights:
- Included 6,574 adult patients who took an inhaled steroid for asthma in 2006 and had one or more asthma-related hospitalizations or ER visits in the previous 12 months
- Patients were followed over a one-year period
- Study compared those using a statin (2,103 people) in addition to their asthma treatment to those who were not taking a statin (4,471 people)
- 20.5 percent of the patients taking a statin versus 29.4 percent of the patients not taking a statin visited an ER or were hospitalized for asthma during the study period
So, researchers concluded that taking statins reduced the risk of of asthma-related ER visits and hospitalizations by 33%. The findings were not altered by age, gender, previous asthma events, or asthma therapy.
Dr. Robert Epstein, Medco's chief medical officer and study co-author emphasizes, "While the findings of this patient study should be considered preliminary and further clinical studies will be needed to draw any conclusions about care, they do show promise for the use of statins in asthma treatment."