Statins for asthma have been recently looked at as they have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects. Asthma is a respiratory syndrome defined by reversible airway obstruction and increased hyperreactivity of the airways. The estimated prevalence in some studies show asthma prevalence up to 13% worldwide.
Statins are prescribed for elevated cholesterol and prevention of cardiovascular disease. Previous studies have shown that it reduces some inflammatory marker levels. Past studies have been inconclusive about whether there is a benefit for asthma.
Statins that are approved for use in the U.S. include:
- atorvastatin (Lipitor),
- fluvastatin (Lescol, Lescol XL),
- lovastatin (Mevacor, Altoprev),
- pravastatin (Pravachol),
- rosuvastatin (Crestor),
- simvastatin (Zocor), and
- pitavastatin (Livalo).
A recent study was published evaluating emergency department visits and hospitalizations for patients with asthma, the statin users were compared to the nonstatin users.
The risks of asthma-related emergency room visits and/or hospitalizations were decreased among those using statin medications. This suggests that stain use is associated with the decreased risk of asthma related ER visits and/or hospitalizations in patients with asthma. A dose response effect of statin use was also observed in the study. Future random clinical trials would be further warranted to evaluate the association.
This study by no means suggest that asthma patients should be started on statin medications. But understanding the mechanism behind the effects of statins on asthma related outcomes might be of further interest. A couple theories are that it reduces airway inflammation by reducing airway inflammatory cells and the second effect is to counter airway remodeling and inhibiting contractions in the airway smooth muscle. Taken together, further investigations are needed to see the potential beneficial effect of statin therapy for asthma.
If you are suffering from asthma, it is important to speak with your asthma doctor about the frequency of your symptoms, nighttime awakenings, and disturbances to your daily lifestyle including work and exercise. There are a multitude of treatment options available to help control your symptoms. Although this blog discusses statins for asthma, this is a potential future therapeutic options and in no way should be used for treatment. Albuterol is the main treatment rescue option for asthma patients.