The two types of cholesterol that exist are high-density lipoproteins (HDL) and low-density lipoproteins (LDL). HDL is referred to as the “good” cholesterol. It helps remove excess cholesterol from your body. LDL, or the “bad” cholesterol, creates plaques or buildup in arteries. This can lead to blocked arteries which can cause a heart attack or stroke.
The brand names of statin drugs are: Crestor; Lescol; Lipitor; Mevacor; Pravachol; and Zocor.
Mr. Raymakers and colleagues at the University of British Columbia in Canada analyzed the association of statin drug from health records in their province and mortality.
Patients with COPD were identified by records of inhaled bronchodilator use. Statin drug use was determined in the one-year period after diagnosis of COPD.
This study was published in the September 2017 issue of the journal CHEST,
volume 152, pages 486-493.
Of over 39,000 individuals with COPD, almost 20% were taking a statin drug. There were a total of 1,446 deaths recorded in the one-year period (outcome ascertainment window). There was a 21%
reduction in the risk of all-cause mortality with statin drug use.
The study shows that statin drug use in a population of patients with COPD was associated with reducing both lung-related and all-cause mortality. The authors propose that the protective effect of statin drugs in reducing inflammation in the body is the likely reason for reduced mortality.
My Comments: The results of this study are intriguing. If your health care provider has already prescribed a statin drug for you in order to lower your “bad” cholesterol, then you are already receiving the benefit.
Not everyone with COPD has general inflammation in their body. One way to find out if you have inflammation in your body is to ask your health care provider to measure C-reactive protein (CRP) in your blood. An elevated level indicates inflammation.
Before statin drug is recommended for everyone with COPD, additional studies are required. It is important to recognize that this study is retrospective – which means that it was performed “looking backward” based on health information already collected. The strongest evidence is based on a prospective study – which means “looking forward.” This type of study would involve giving a statin drug to some patients with COPD (one-half of the group) and a placebo to the other one-half of the study group, and then following their course over a few years.