Statins Shown to Reduce Albuterol Use and Raise Peak Flow in Asthma

   According to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in New Orleans, the addition of statins to patients' regimens was associated with a reduction in albuterol use and improvement in peak flow.

   Researchers from Beth Israel Medical Center in New York conducted a retrospective chart review of asthma clinic patients. Patients were included if they had no change in medications and dosages except for the addition of statins during the period studied. Asthma severity, albuterol use, and peak flow were recorded at one and two months prior to and after initiation of statin therapy. Peak flow measurements and albuterol use were analyzed using paired t-tests and signed rank tests, respectively. Wilcoxon rank tests were used to compare changes in albuterol use and peak flow measurements between the atorvastatin and simvastatin regimens.

   Seventy patients met the inclusion criteria; 54% were prescribed atorvastatin and 41% simvastatin. No significant changes in albuterol use (P=0.52) or peak flow measurements (P=0.63) were observed between 1 and 2 months pre-statin therapy. A significant increase in peak flow (P<0.0001) and decrease in albuterol use (P<0.0001) was observed at one month post-statin. No significant differences were found in peak flow improvement (P=0.24) or in albuterol use (P=0.36) between the two different statin regimens.

   In addition to their established use in lipid lowering, statins are being investigated for use in rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes mellitus, multiple sclerosis, lung transplant, lupus, cancer, and other disorders. The Beth Israel researchers concluded that statins may have a role in asthma therapy.