Objective Statins are commonly prescribed worldwide. In addition to being potent lipid-lowering agents, statins have immunomodulating properties that may increase the risk of varicella zoster virus reactivation. This adverse effect may have substantial public health implications.
Design We performed a meta-analysis of observational studies to assess the association between statin use and the risk of herpes zoster infection. We searched PubMed, Embase, Web of Science and Cochrane databases to identify studies published from 1980 to 2018. The multivariate-adjusted ORs were pooled using random-effect models, and subgroup and sensitivity analyses were performed to examine the source of heterogeneity.
Result Six studies were analysed, with a total of more than two million participants. We determined if the use of statins might increase the risk of infection of herpes zoster (OR 1.18, 95% CI 1.11 to 1. 25). We detected significant heterogeneity (I2=91.2%; p<0.000), and determined that the heterogeneity arises from regional differences.
Conclusion The use of statins may increase the risk of herpes zoster infection. Because the studies included are limited and there may be potential bias, further studies are warranted.
- herpes zoster
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Contributors XG designed the study. LF and YW completed the extraction and analysis of data. LF and XL reviewed the results. LF wrote the report. All authors participated in the discussion and modification of the text. All authors approved the final version of the paper.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data sharing statement All relevant study data can be found in the online supplementary files.
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