Statin use appears to reduce the risk of severe COVID-19 disease or death among hospitalized patients, particularly in those with a history of cardiovascular disease and/or hypertension, according to research published in The Public Library of Science (PLOS) ONE.

To evaluate the relationship between the use of statins and COVID-19 outcomes, study authors analyzed data from 10,541 hospitalized patients with active COVID-19 disease who were enrolled in the American Heart Association’s COVID-19 Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) Registry from January 2020 to September 2020. Prior to admission, 42% (n=4449) of patients used statins, with 7% of patients using statins alone and 35% using statins plus antihypertensives.

“Because the use of statins and [antihypertensives] is strongly linked to the underlying high-risk conditions for which they are prescribed, we used propensity score matching techniques to investigate the use of these medications, separately for patients with and without a history of CVD and/or hypertension,” the study authors reported. They used logistic regression to adjust for demographic characteristics, insurance status, hospital site, and concurrent medications. The primary outcome of the study was in-hospital all-cause death or discharge to hospice care.

Results showed that prior to admission, the use of statins, either alone or with antihypertensive medications, was associated with a 41% reduction in the risk of in-hospital death (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 0.59; 95% CI, 0.50-0.69) and more than a 25% reduction in the risk of developing severe outcomes (secondary outcome). Among those with a history of CVD and/or hypertension, the use of statins and/or antihypertensives was associated with a 32% reduction in the risk of death (aOR 0.68; 95% CI, 0.58-0.81) and about a 20% reduction in the risk of developing severe outcomes. 


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“Early during the pandemic, there were questions as to whether certain cardiovascular medications might worsen COVID-19 infections,” said Lori Daniels, MD, MAS, lead author of the study, professor and director of the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit at UC San Diego Health. “We found that not only are statins and antihypertensive medications safe, they may very well be protective in patients hospitalized for COVID, especially among those with a history of hypertension or cardiovascular disease.”

References

  1. Statins may reduce death from, severity of COVID-19 among those with heart disease or high blood pressure. News release. American Heart Association. Accessed July 15, 2021. https://newsroom.heart.org/news/statins-may-reduce-death-from-severity-of-covid-19-among-those-with-heart-disease-or-high-blood-pressure. 
  2. Daniels LB, Ren J, Kumar K, et al. Relation of prior statin and anti-hypertensive use to severity of disease among patients hospitalized with COVID-19: Findings from the American Heart Association’s COVID-19 Cardiovascular Disease Registry. PLoS ONE 16(7): e0254635. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0254635.

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