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Statins May Offer Improved Outcomes for COPD Patients

But literature review concludes interventional trials are needed to fully assess statins for COPD

THURSDAY, Sept. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Statins appear to be beneficial in the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but more interventional trials are needed to specifically assess the drugs' effect on relevant COPD outcomes, according to a literature review in the Sept. 1 issue of Chest.

Surinder Janda, M.D., of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and colleagues conducted literature searches of Medline, the Excerpta Medica Database, PapersFirst, along with the Cochrane collaboration and Cochrane Register, and identified candidate studies. Ultimately, the reviewers identified and analyzed nine studies, including one randomized clinical trial, six retrospective studies, and two population analyses.

The reviewers note that all the studies demonstrated a statin benefit for COPD outcomes, such as the number of and time to intubations (one study), the number of exacerbations (three studies), pulmonary function measures (one study), capacity for exercise (one study), COPD mortality (two studies), and all-cause mortality (three studies). No study found a negative impact from statin use, which prompted the reviewers to raise the possibility of publication bias.

"The current literature collectively suggests that statins may have a beneficial role in the treatment of COPD. However, the majority of published studies have inherent methodological limitations of retrospective studies and population-based analyses. There is a need for prospective interventional trials designed specifically to assess the impact of statins on clinically relevant outcomes in COPD," the authors conclude.

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