Taking Statins Retards Decline of Lung Function in Elderly

Protective effect appears to extend to smokers and former smokers

MONDAY, Oct. 15 (HealthDay News) --The use of statin drugs appears to attenuate the decline in lung function among elderly men, including smokers and former smokers, researchers report in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Stacey E. Alexeeff, B.Sc., of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues followed 803 participants in the Veterans Administration Normative Aging Study who underwent physical exams and filled out questionnaires regarding lung function and smoking habits every three years between 1995 and 2005.

Subjects using statins experienced an estimated annual decline in FEV of 10.9 ml/year compared to an estimated annual decline of 23.9 ml/year for those not using statins. The decline in FVC was 14.0 ml/year for those using stains versus 36.2 ml/year for nonusers. Smokers and ex-smokers who used statins also experienced less rapid declines in FEV and FVC than those who did not, although degrees of difference varied according to when or if they had quit.

"This research adds to the growing body of knowledge indicating the positive effects of statin use beyond its cholesterol-lowering properties," the authors concluded.

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