Statins may reduce episodes of exacerbation and the requirement for intubation in patients with COPD: evidence from a retrospective cohort study

Int J Clin Pract. 2008 Sep;62(9):1373-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-1241.2008.01731.x. Epub 2008 Apr 14.


Introduction: Statins have diverse anti-inflammatory effects in addition to their lipid-lowering ability. This study assesses the rate of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbation and intubations in patients taking statins.

Methods: This is a retrospective cohort study of 185 patients with COPD exacerbation, with a 1-year follow-up. Outcomes examined were repeat hospitalisation and intubations for COPD exacerbation. Baseline characteristics for which the p-value was < or = 0.10 were considered as covariates for inclusion in a multivariate model.

Results: The statin group had fewer episodes of exacerbation and required intubation fewer times than the subjects not receiving statins (p < 0.0001 for both outcomes). Unadjusted odds ratios (OR) for no statin use vs. statin use were 9.54 (95% CI: 4.54-20.02) for exacerbation and 10.47 (CI: 4.56-24.01) for intubation. The OR, adjusted for the use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ORa), were 2.35 (CI: 1.01-5.50) for non-statin users exhibiting an exacerbation and 10.36 (CI: 2.77-38.76) for this group requiring intubation, compared with statin users. Similarly, ORa for long-acting beta(2) agonists as a covariate were 3.01 (CI: 1.46-6.10) for exacerbation and 8.89 (CI: 3.67-21.32) for intubation. Time to outcome during the observation period was reduced by statins with the hazard ratio (HR) for exacerbation of 0.19 (CI: 0.06-0.14); HR for statins reducing intubation was 0.14 (95% CI: 0.10-0.30).

Conclusions: These data suggest that the use of statins may be associated with lower incidence of both exacerbations and intubations in patients with COPD.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / drug therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors