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21 Dec 2011 06:35 PM

Statins May Lower Flu Mortality Rates

A report published online by The Journal of Infectious Diseases reveals that statins, commonly known as cholesterol-lowering medications, might lower the number of deaths among individuals who are hospitalized with influenza.

Vanderbilt's William Schaffner, M.D., professor and chair of Preventive Medicine, explained that the observational study is the first to assess the association between the use of these drugs and death in individuals hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza virus infection.

Schaffner, co-author of the investigation led by Meredith Vandermeer, MPH, of the Oregon Public Health Division, said:

"We may be able to combine statins with antiviral drugs to provide better treatment for patients seriously ill with influenza."

In order to assess the connection between influenza-related mortality and patients who received statins, the team analyzed adult individuals hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza from 2007 to 2008.

33% of the 3,043 patients hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza received statins, either before hospitalization or during. After adjusting for several factors, they discovered that individuals who did not receive the medication were nearly two times as likely to die from flu compared to patients who received statins.

According to estimates from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 5% to 20% of individuals in the U.S. are infected with influenza each year, and over 20,000 people are hospitalized for complications related to influenza. Schaffner explains that getting the flu vaccine each year is still the optimal defense against influenza.

Written by Grace Rattue

Copyright: Medical News Today
Not to be reproduced without permission of Medical News Today
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