Statins protect people against death from respiratory illness, infections

June 14, 2017

"Some studies have suggested that statins protect people against death from infectious diseases such as pneumonia. More research is needed to explain how these drugs might have unforeseen actions that prevent deaths from other illnesses."

Amongst UK participants, in the 11 years since the trial began, 460 of the original statin group have died, compared with 520 of the placebo group. The difference is largely explained by a 36 per cent reduction in deaths from infection and respiratory illness. Deaths from cardiovascular disease were also lower in the original statin group, but the difference was not statistically significant. There was no difference in deaths from cancer.

The initial results of the ASCOT lipid arm had a major influence on subsequent guidelines recommending the use of statins for people at risk of heart disease, including those produced by NICE in the UK. Another arm of the trial comparing different combinations of blood pressure-lowering drugs also had an important impact on clinical practice.

Source: Imperial College London