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BMJ Open 3:e003314 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003314
  • Respiratory medicine
    • Research

Statin use and asthma control in patients with severe asthma

  1. Nicholas J Kenyon1–4
  1. 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of California, Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento, California, USA
  2. 2Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care Medicine, and Sleep Medicine, University of California, Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento, California, USA
  3. 3Clinical and Translational Science Center, University of California, Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento, California, USA
  4. 4Center for Comparative Respiratory Biology & Medicine, University of California, Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento, California, USA
  5. 5Department of Public Health Sciences, Division of Biostatistics, University of California, Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento, California, USA
  6. 6Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, University of California, Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Amir A Zeki; amir.zeki{at}ucdmc.ucdavis.edu
  • Received 29 May 2013
  • Revised 4 July 2013
  • Accepted 5 July 2013
  • Published 13 August 2013

Abstract

Objectives We hypothesised that severe asthmatics taking a statin drug, in addition to inhaled corticosteroids/long-acting β-agonist inhaler therapy, would have better asthma symptom control and improved lung function compared to their controls.

Study design A retrospective, cross-sectional study of 165 patients with severe asthma seen from 2001–2008. Hierarchical linear and logistic regression models were used for modelling fitting.

Setting University of California, Davis Medical Center (Sacramento, California, USA). Academic, single-centre, severe asthma subspecialty clinic.

Participants 612 screened, 223 eligible and 165 adult patients were included in the final study (N=165; 31 statin users and 134 non-users).

Primary and secondary outcome measures The primary endpoint was asthma control as measured by the Asthma Control Test (ACT). The secondary endpoints included lung function, symptoms and the need for corticosteroid burst and peripheral eosinophil count.

Results At baseline, statin users compared to non-users were older, had lower lung function (FEV1% predicted, FEV1, forced vital capacity and FEF25–75%) and had a higher prevalence of comorbid conditions. Statin use was associated with more aspirin and ipratropium inhaler use than in non-users. Patients in both groups were obese (body mass index ≥ 30). Statin users had better asthma symptom control compared to non-users (higher adjusted mean ACT score by 2.2±0.94 points, p<0.02). Median statin use was for 1 year. There were no statistically significant differences in lung function, corticosteroid or rescue bronchodilator use or peripheral eosinophilia between the two groups.

Conclusions In our severe asthma referral population, statin users already taking inhaled controller therapy achieved better asthma control compared to non-users. The implications of this study is that patients with severe asthma could potentially benefit from added statin treatment. Because our study population was on average obese, the obese severe asthmatic may be a viable asthma subphenotype for further studies. Prospective randomised clinical trials evaluating the safety and efficacy of statins in severe asthma are warranted.

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 3.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

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