Cholesterol-lowering drugs, known as Statins may also have the ability to reduce mortality among patients hospitalized with influenza, according to a new study released online by The Journal of Infectious Diseases.
It is the first published observational study to evaluate the relationship between statin use and mortality in hospitalized patients with laboratory-confirmed influenza virus infection, according to Vanderbilt research scientists from the department of Preventive Medicine.
“We may be able to combine statins with antiviral drugs to provide better treatment for patients seriously ill with influenza,” said the researchers from the Oregon Public Health Division.
Researchers studied adults who were hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza from 2007-2008 to evaluate the association between patients who were prescribed statins and influenza-related deaths.
Among 3,043 hospitalized patients with laboratory-confirmed influenza, 33 percent were given statin medications prior to or during hospitalization. After adjusting for various factors, researchers found that patients not receiving statins were almost twice as likely to die from influenza as those who received the medication.
The researchers stressed that receiving the influenza vaccine each year is still the best defense against influenza. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that between 5 percent and 20 percent of U.S. residents get the flu each year, and more than 20,000 persons are hospitalized for flu-related complications.
Story Source: Vanderbilt University Medical Center
“Among Patients Hospitalized With Laboratory-Confirmed Influenza Virus Infections: A Multistate Study. Journal of Infectious Diseases,” 2011;
Vanderbilt University Medical Center (2011, December 16). “Cholesterol-lowering drugs may reduce mortality for influenza patients”
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