Do aspirin and statins prevent severe sepsis?

Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2012 Jun;25(3):345-50. doi: 10.1097/QCO.0b013e3283520ed7.


Purpose of review: Sepsis is an inflammatory condition associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Given the lack of specific therapies for the condition, prevention has garnered significant interest and increased importance. The article reviews the current literature regarding the use of aspirin and statins for the prevention of sepsis.

Recent findings: Aspirin and statins have been integral in the prevention of atherosclerotic disease. Additionally, statins have proven beneficial in the prevention of nonatherosclerotic conditions secondary to their pleiotropic effects. In animal models, this pleiotropism modulates many inflammatory pathways of sepsis. The platelet also plays an integral role in this inflammatory cascade of sepsis. Scientific data indicates that antiplatelet therapy, including aspirin, may attenuate these undesirable effects of platelets. Finally, observational studies have shown that patients taking statins have a decreased incidence of sepsis and septic shock, and aspirin may potentiate these benefits.

Summary: Sepsis is a deadly and costly condition with no available, specific treatment options. The statins and aspirin are well tolerated and widely used for prevention of cardiovascular disease. Because of their effects on the immune system and inflammatory pathways, they may present viable medical options for the prevention of sepsis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Aspirin / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Inflammation / prevention & control
  • Models, Animal
  • Sepsis / prevention & control*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Aspirin