Statins may reduce death by influenza

Dec. 17, 2011 at 2:05 AM
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NASHVILLE, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- Statins -- cholesterol-lowering drugs -- may reduce mortality among patients hospitalized with influenza, U.S. researchers say.

Dr. William Schaffner, professor and chairman of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and Meredith Vandermeer of the Oregon Public Health Division, said the observational study evaluated the relationship between statin use and mortality in hospitalized patients with laboratory-confirmed influenza virus infection.

The researchers studied adults who were hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza from 2007 to 2008 to evaluate the association between influenza-related deaths and patients who were prescribed statins.

The study, published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases, found 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 patients not receiving statins were almost twice as likely to die from influenza as those who received the medication, the study said.

"We may be able to combine statins with antiviral drugs to provide better treatment for patients seriously ill with influenza," Schaffner said in a statement.

Schaffner stressed receiving the influenza vaccine each year is still the best defense against influenza.

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