Statins in COPD: a systematic review

Chest. 2009 Sep;136(3):734-743. doi: 10.1378/chest.09-0194. Epub 2009 Apr 17.


Background: The 3-hydroxy 3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors (ie, statins) are widely used for the treatment of patients with hypercholesterolemia and cardiovascular disease. Emerging evidence suggests a beneficial effect of statins on the morbidity and mortality of patients with COPD. The objective of this study was to perform a systematic review of the literature evaluating the effect of statin therapy on outcomes in patients with COPD.

Methods: Medline, Excerpta Medica Database, PapersFirst, and the Cochrane collaboration and Cochrane Register of controlled trials were searched. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs), observational cohort studies, case-control studies, and population-based analyses were considered for inclusion.

Results: Nine studies were identified for review (four retrospective cohorts, one nested case-control study of a retrospective cohort, one retrospective cohort and case series, two population-based analyses, and one RCT). All studies showed a benefit from statin therapy for various outcomes in COPD patients, including the number of COPD exacerbations (n = 3), the number of and time to COPD-related intubations (n = 1), pulmonary function (eg, FEV(1) and FVC) [n = 1], exercise capacity (n = 1), mortality from COPD (n = 2), and all-cause mortality (n = 3). No studies describing a negative or neutral effect from statin therapy on outcomes in COPD patients were identified.

Conclusions: 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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / drug therapy*
  • Research Design


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors