Statins and clinical outcomes with COVID-19: Meta-analyses of observational studies

Diabetes Metab. 2020 Dec 23;47(6):101220. doi: 10.1016/j.diabet.2020.101220. Online ahead of print.


Aims: People with cardiovascular disease or risk factors are at increased risk when exposed to SARS-CoV-2. Most are treated with statins, but the impact of these drugs on clinical outcomes of COVID-19 remains unclear. This report is therefore based on meta-analyses of retrospective observational studies aimed at investigating the impact of previous statin therapy in patients hospitalized for COVID-19.

Methods: In studies reporting on the clinical outcomes of COVID-19 in statin users vs non-users, two endpoints have been used-in-hospital death rates, and disease severity as assessed by admission to intensive care units (ICUs)-with a special focus on patients with diabetes.

Results: Regarding mortality, 13 studies were included in the meta-analysis for a total of 10,829 statin users (2517 deaths) and 31,893 non-users (7516 deaths): univariate analysis showed no statistically significant reduction in deaths (OR: 0.97, 95% CI: 0.92-1.03), although between-study heterogeneity was high (I² = 97%). As for disease severity, 11 studies were selected for a total of 3462 statin users (724 endpoints) and 10,560 non-users (1763 endpoints): here again, univariate analysis showed no reduction in severity (OR: 1.09, 95% CI: 0.99-1.22; I² = 93%). Collectively, in 10 studies using multivariable analysis adjusted for the more prevalent baseline risk factors among statin users, lower OR values were reported than with univariate analyses (0.73 ± 0.31 vs 1.44 ± 0.84, respectively; P = 0.0028; adjusted OR: P = 0.0237 vs non-users). Limited but conflicting findings were observed for diabetes patients.

Conclusion: Although no significant reductions in either in-hospital mortality or COVID-19 severity were reported among statin users compared with non-users after univariate comparisons, such reductions were observed after adjusting for confounding factors. These highly heterogeneous observational findings now require confirmation by ongoing randomized clinical trials.

Keywords: COVID-19; Intensive care unit; Mortality; SARS-CoV-2; Statin; Type 2 diabetes.