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Original Research: COPD |

Statins in COPD: A Systematic Review

Surinder Janda, MD; Kirly Park, MD; J. Mark FitzGerald, MB, MD; Mahyar Etminan, PharmD, MSc; John Swiston, MD, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

Affiliations: From the Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Correspondence to: John Swiston, MD, FCCP, Division of Respirology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver General Hospital, 2775 Laurel St, Seventh Floor, Vancouver, BC, V5Z 1M9, Canada; e-mail: swiston@interchange.ubc.ca


Dr. FitzGerald is a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Distinguished Scholar and a Canadian Institutes of Health Research/British Columbia Lung Scientist recipient, funded in part by the National Sanitarium Association. Dr. Swiston is a recipient of an In it for Life Scientist award from the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and the Vancouver General Hospital Foundation. Work was performed at the University of British Columbia.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (www.chestjournal.org/site/misc/reprints.xhtml).


© 2009 American College of Chest Physicians


Chest. 2009;136(3):734-743. doi:10.1378/chest.09-0194
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Background:  The 3-hydroxy 3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors (ie, statins) are widely used for the treatment of patients with hypercholesterolemia and cardiovascular disease. Emerging evidence suggests a beneficial effect of statins on the morbidity and mortality of patients with COPD. The objective of this study was to perform a systematic review of the literature evaluating the effect of statin therapy on outcomes in patients with COPD.

Methods:  Medline, Excerpta Medica Database, PapersFirst, and the Cochrane collaboration and Cochrane Register of controlled trials were searched. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs), observational cohort studies, case-control studies, and population-based analyses were considered for inclusion.

Results:  Nine studies were identified for review (four retrospective cohorts, one nested case-control study of a retrospective cohort, one retrospective cohort and case series, two population-based analyses, and one RCT). All studies showed a benefit from statin therapy for various outcomes in COPD patients, including the number of COPD exacerbations (n = 3), the number of and time to COPD-related intubations (n = 1), pulmonary function (eg, FEV1 and FVC) [n = 1], exercise capacity (n = 1), mortality from COPD (n = 2), and all-cause mortality (n = 3). No studies describing a negative or neutral effect from statin therapy on outcomes in COPD patients were identified.

Conclusions:  The current literature collectively suggests that statins may have a beneficial role in the treatment of COPD. However, the majority of published studies have inherent methodological limitations of retrospective studies and population-based analyses. There is a need for prospective interventional trials designed specifically to assess the impact of statins on clinically relevant outcomes in COPD.

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