Statins and the risk of pneumonia: a population-based, nested case-control study

Pharmacotherapy. 2007 Mar;27(3):325-32. doi: 10.1592/phco.27.3.325.


Study objective: To determine if the use of statins affects pneumonia-related outpatient visits, hospitalizations with survival, and deaths.

Design: Population-based, retrospective, nested case-control analysis.

Data source: United Kingdom-based General Practice Research Database.

Participants: The study population (134,262 patients aged > or = 30 yrs) consisted of 55,118 patients who took statins and/or fibrates, 29,144 patients with hyperlipidemia not taking lipid-lowering agents, and 50,000 randomly selected patients without hyperlipidemia and without lipid-lowering treatment.

Measurements and main results: We identified 1253 patients with pneumonia and matched them with 4838 control subjects based on age, sex, general practice, and index date. After adjusting for comorbidity and frequency of visits to general practitioners, we calculated the risks (odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals) of uncomplicated pneumonia, hospitalization for pneumonia with survival, and fatal pneumonia in participants who used statins compared with those who did not. Current statin users had a significantly reduced risk of fatal pneumonia (adjusted odds ratio 0.47, 95% confidence interval 0.25-0.88) and slightly but not significantly reduced risks of uncomplicated pneumonia and pneumonia hospitalization with survival. Recent or past statin use and fibrate use at any time were not associated with a reduced risk of pneumonia.

Conclusion: Current use of statins was associated with a reduced risk of pneumonia. The risk reduction was particularly strong in the subgroup of patients with fatal pneumonias.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anticholesteremic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Clofibric Acid / therapeutic use
  • Databases as Topic
  • Family Practice / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Hyperlipidemias / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumonia / mortality
  • Pneumonia / prevention & control*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Analysis
  • United Kingdom


  • Anticholesteremic Agents
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Clofibric Acid