Statin use and clinical outcomes in patients with COVID-19: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis

Postgrad Med J. 2021 Feb 4;postgradmedj-2020-139172. doi: 10.1136/postgradmedj-2020-139172. Online ahead of print.


Purpose: Observations studies have shown that prior use of statins is associated with a reduced risk of adverse clinical outcomes in patients with COVID-19. However, the available data are limited, inconsistent and conflicting. Besides, no randomised controlled trial exists in this regard. Hence, the present meta-analysis was conducted to provide an updated summary and collate the effect of statin use on clinical outcomes in COVID-19 using unadjusted and adjusted risk estimates.

Methods: PubMed, Scopus and Web of Science databases were systematically searched using appropriate keywords till December 18 2020, to identify observational studies reporting clinical outcomes in COVID-19 patients using statins versus those not using statins. Prior and in-hospital use of statins were considered. Study quality was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. Unadjusted and adjusted pooled odds ratio (OR) with 95% CIs were calculated.

Results: We included 14 observational studies pooling data retrieved from 19 988 patients with COVID-19. All the studies were of high/moderate quality. Pooled analysis of unadjusted data showed that statin use was not associated with improved clinical outcomes (OR 1.02; 95% CI 0.69 to 1.50, p=0.94, I2=94%, random-effects model). However, on pooling adjusted risk estimates, the use of statin was found to significantly reduce the risk of adverse outcomes (OR 0.51; 95% CI 0.41 to 0.63, p<0.0005, I2=0%, fixed-effects model).

Conclusions: Statin use is associated with improved clinical outcomes in patients with COVID-19. Individuals with multiple comorbidities on statin therapy should be encouraged to continue the drug amid the ongoing pandemic.

Keywords: infectious diseases; lipid disorders.