Statins protect against risk of first hospitalizations for infections
Use of statins may significantly reduce the risk of hospitalization for bacterial infections, with the protective effect similar in populations with or without diabetes, irrespective of cardiovascular events or other comorbidities, a study suggests.
Researchers examined the effect of current statin use on the risk of first hospitalizations due to bacterial infections in 128,207 patients with diabetes and in 3,304,906 nondiabetic individuals. None reported previous use of statins.
Cox proportional hazards regression analysis was used to estimate the hospitalization risk, with adjustments for age, gender, previous comorbidities, chronic renal failure, and prior or incident cardiovascular diseases.
A total of 37,222 hospitalizations for bacterial infections were reported during the 5-year follow-up, yielding an incidence rate of 2.08 per 1,000 person-years in the nondiabetic group (n=31,543) and 9.13 per 1,000 person-years in the diabetic group (n=5,679).
Diabetes was associated with a twofold increase in the 5-year risk of hospitalizations for bacterial infections (adjusted hazard ratio, 2.04; 95 percent CI, 1.97 to 2.10; p<0.0001). The risk declined by about 2.5 percent for each 1 month of statin use, with statins producing this risk-lowering effect to the same extent in individuals with or without diabetes.
Statin, a hydroxymethyl glutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitor, is commonly used as a lipid-lowering therapy in the primary or secondary prevention of cardiovascular events. It has also been shown to be beneficial in the prevention and treatment of bacterial infections due to the ‘pleiotropic’ effect of statins. The drugs modulate both the innate and the adaptive immune system, providing anti-inflammatory effects. Moreover, statins have potential direct inhibitory effects on pathogenic microorganisms. [Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis 2010;29:143–152; Pharmacol Res 2014;88:31–40; Lancet Infect Dis 2006;6:242–248; Kidney Int 2003;63:12–23 1-8]
The current data reinforce a role of statins in reducing the risk of hospitalization for bacterial infections, supporting the extended use of such drugs beyond the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular events in individuals with or without diabetes, researchers said.