Statin use and exacerbations in individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

BACKGROUND: We tested the hypothesis that statin use in individuals with COPD is associated with a reduced risk of exacerbations.

METHODS: We identified 5794 individuals with COPD and a measurement of C reactive protein (CRP) in the Copenhagen General Population Study (2003-2008). During 3 years of follow-up we recorded exacerbations with hospital admissions or oral corticosteroid treatment. In a nested case-control design, matching on age, gender, smoking, COPD severity and comorbidity, we estimated the association between statin use and exacerbations. In addition, we examined the association between statin use and high CRP (>3 mg/L), and the association between high CRP and exacerbations during follow-up.

RESULTS: Statin use was associated with reduced odds of exacerbations in crude analysis, OR=0.68 (95% CI 0.51 to 0.91, p=0.01), as well as in multivariable conditional logistic regression analysis, OR=0.67 (0.48 to 0.92, p=0.01). However, in the subgroup with the most severe COPD and without cardiovascular comorbidity, we observed a null association between statin use and exacerbations, OR=1.1 (0.5 to 2.1, p=0.83). Furthermore, statin use was associated with reduced odds of a high CRP, OR=0.69 (0.56 to 0.85, p<0.001), and a high CRP was associated with an increased risk of exacerbations, HR=1.62 (1.35 to 1.94, p<0.001). We estimated the percentage of excess risk of the association of statin use with exacerbations possibly mediated through a reduction of CRP to be 14% (4-51%).

CONCLUSIONS: Statin use was associated with reduced odds of exacerbations in individuals with COPD from the general population, although this was not apparent in those with the most severe COPD without cardiovascular comorbidity. Statins may thus only associate with reduced risk of exacerbations in patients with COPD with coexisting cardiovascular disease.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)33-40
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015

    Research areas

  • Aged, Disease Progression, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors, Male, Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive, Recurrence, Retrospective Studies, Time Factors, Treatment Outcome

ID: 135784909