Decrease in mortality rate of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) with statin use: a population-based analysis in Japan

Tohoku J Exp Med. 2007 Jul;212(3):265-73. doi: 10.1620/tjem.212.265.


It has been well established that statins, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors, reduce mortality from cardiovascular diseases. Statins, a class of cholesterol-lowering drug, may also affect mortality from various diseases by their pleiotropic effects of anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative activities. However, there are only few reports concerning the effects of statins on diseases other than cardiovascular diseases. We therefore designed a population-based analysis, using the data from marketing surveys on statin sales and government reports on mortalities. We compared the statin use as expressed by statin sales per capita in the aged (> or = 65-year-old) population with mortality from major causes of death among 47 prefectures in Japan. As expected, there were significant negative correlations between statin sales per capita and mortality from cardiovascular diseases (p < 0.05). In addition, we found that there was a correlation between statin sales and the decrease in mortality from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (p < 0.0001), senility (p < 0.01), pneumonia (p < 0.05), accidents (p < 0.05), or all death causes (p < 0.05). However, statin sales were not associated with mortalities from renal failure, liver diseases, suicide, and malignant diseases. These results suggest a broad spectrum of beneficial effects of statins, including reduction of mortality rate of COPD as well as cardiovascular diseases. It will be worthy to confirm the protective effect of statins on COPD by prospective randomized clinical trials.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / drug therapy*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / mortality*


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors