a large health care database review has determined.
Among almost 53,000 sepsis patients, those who had been taking simvastatin were 28% less likely to die within 30 days of a sepsis admission than were patients not taking a statin. Atorvastatin conferred a similar significant survival benefit, reducing the risk of death by 22%,and his colleagues wrote in the April issue of the journal .
Although the physiological link isn’t completely clear, animal studies suggest the survival benefit may be linked to statins’ ability to improve cardiac function, reduce inflammatory cytokines, and slow down neutrophil infiltration into the lung, wrote Dr. Lee of the National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, and colleagues.
The drugs also exert a direct antimicrobial effect, he asserted.
“Of note, simvastatin was shown by several reports to have the most potent antibacterial activity,” targeting both methicillin-resistant and -sensitive Staphylococcus aureus, as well as gram negative and positive bacteria.
Dr. Lee and his colleagues extracted mortality and statin prescription data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Database from 2000-2011. They looked at 30- and 90-day mortality in 52,737 patients who developed sepsis; the statins of interest were atorvastatin, simvastatin, and rosuvastatin. Patients had to have been taking the medication for at least 30 days before sepsis onset to be included, and patients taking more than one statin were excluded from the analysis.
Patients were a mean of 69 years old. About half had a lower respiratory infection. The remainder had infections within the abdomen, the biliary or urinary tract, skin, or orthopedic infections. There were no significant differences in comorbidities or in other medications taken among the three statin groups or the nonusers.
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