Statins could be beneficial for asthma patients

Do the wonders of cholesterol-lowering statins and their potential benefits ever seem to end? It would seem not according to yet another study to analyse their capabilities.

In just 2012 alone, Medical Specialists Pharmacy has reported countless stories regarding how statin medications such as Crestor and Lipitor, have been linked to the improvement in various health conditions for a much wider group of people than those merely with high cholesterol. For instance, in regards to statin therapy, these are some of the things we have learnt this year:

. They can lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease.

. Some doctors have argued that there should be ‘statins for all’ outlook.

. They can reduce the risk of a heart attack even in healthy individuals.

. Statins can lower risk of cancer in heart transplant patients.

. They have been shown to particularly be effective in decreasing the chance of a stroke in males.

The latest in a long line of studies into statins has come from researchers from the University of Mississippi in the US, and this time it is asthma patients who were investigated with statin therapy.

In total there were 479 asthma patients analysed who were taking both statins and using an inhaled corticosteroid such as Qvar Beclometasone, compared against 958 who were using just the corticosteroid.

It was deduced that a higher number of asthma patients required hospital treatment in the second group, who were not taking any statin medication. Researchers noted that 3.79% of the first group had required a hospital visit due to their asthma, whilst the figure was 6.47% for those not taking statins.

In addition, those who were on statins were found to be a lot less likely to end up at Accident and Emergency (A & E) at hospital. Just 4.18% of the first group had needed to go to A & E compared to 9.08% in the second group.

Consultant physician Dr Shahid Hamid from the Princess Royal University Hospital in Kent, was not directly involved in the study but he gave his views on it, saying, “We know statins have uses beyond the treatment of heart conditions. They have anti-inflammatory properties, which mean they have other – as yet mostly unexplored – purposes. Asthma is an inflammatory condition so clearly there is a link.”

Dr Hamid continued and suggested that more research needs to be done to understand more about the possible side effects of taking statins for asthma, and added, “It is still too soon to start prescribing statins as a matter of course. If you are on statins and have asthma, you must report any change in your condition.”

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