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Respirology. 2012 Apr;17(3):493-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1843.2011.02116.x.

An epidemiological study of the effects of statin use on airflow limitation in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Department of Medicine, Jichi Medical University, Shimotsuke, Japan.



Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is considered to be a systemic inflammatory disease, and systemic inflammation has been noted as a factor contributing to cardiovascular disease, which is one of the comorbidities associated with COPD. On the other hand, pleiotropic effects, such as the anti-inflammatory effects of statins, have attracted attention in recent years, and there have been a variety of reports regarding the usefulness of statins for patients with COPD.


We investigated whether the use or non-use of statins influenced the prevalence of airflow limitation. All outpatients who were over the age of 40 years and who regularly visited a primary health care facility were invited to participate. Each participant underwent spirometry and completed a questionnaire regarding their clinical status, which was used to screen for COPD. A variety of factors that are potentially related to airflow limitation were assessed.


Of the 853 patients included in the study, 81 (9.5%) had airflow limitation. The prevalence of airflow limitation was 2.3% among the 89 patients with a history of statin use, which was five times lower than the prevalence of airflow limitation among patients who had not used statins (10.5%). Among the 347 patients with a history of past or current smoking, airflow limitation was not observed in the 30 patients who had used statins. However, by multivariate analysis, statin use was not significantly associated with a lower prevalence of airflow limitation.


This is the first cross-sectional study from Japan that has demonstrated that statin use has a potential impact on airflow limitation in patients with COPD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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