Statins May Help Reduce Influenza Deaths

Influenza patients using cholesterol-reducing drugs were twice as likely to survive

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Flu shots or anti-viral drugs are used to treat influenza, but there may be another possible treatment. Cholesterol-reducing drugs may help reduce deaths in patients hospitalized with the flu.

A new study shows that cholesterol-reducing drugs, such as Lipitor or Crestor, may help reduce the number of deaths in patients hospitalized with influenza. These drugs can be used in combination with traditional flu treatments.

Patients who did not take cholesterol-reducing drugs were twice as likely to die from influenza.

"Make sure to get your flu shot this season."

Researchers from the Oregon Public Health Division in Portland conducted an observational study of 3,043 patients who were hospitalized during the 2007-2008 flu season. The data was collected from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Emerging Infections Program.

Out of the 3,043 patients diagnosed with influenza, 33 percent were given cholesterol-reducing drugs before or during hospitalization. The patients who used cholesterol-reducing drugs were twice as likely to survive the flu than patients who did not use cholesterol-reducing drugs.

This was an observational study, so more tests are needed to determine how effective cholesterol-reducing drugs are in reducing deaths from flu. Future tests can determine which patients benefit the most from using cholesterol-reducing drugs or what is the effective dosage to use.

Determining what type of cholesterol-reducing drugs are most effective would also be a priority for future controlled tests.

The use of cholesterol-reducing drugs may give doctors an additional treatment, alongside traditional flu treatments, that can reduce the number of flu deaths.

This study was published in the December edition of The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

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Review Date: 
December 14, 2011
Last Updated:
October 8, 2012