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Cholesterol-lowering drugs linked to reducing influenza patients' mortality

December 17, 2011 - Washington

cholesterol-lowering during may reduce mortality among patients hospitalised with influenza, a new study has claimed.

Meredith Vandermeer, William Schaffner and their team from Vanderbilt University studied adults who were hospitalised with laboratory-confirmed influenza from 2007-2008 to evaluate the association between patients who were prescribed statins and influenza-related deaths.

Statins, or HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, are a class of drugs used to lower cholesterol levels by inhibiting the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase, which plays a central role in the production of cholesterol in the liver.

Among 3,043 hospitalised patients with laboratory-confirmed influenza, 33 percent were given statin medications prior to or during hospitalisation.

After adjusting for various factors, the researchers found that patients not receiving statins were almost twice as likely to die from influenza as compared to those who received the medication.

"We may be able to combine statins with antiviral drugs to provide better treatment for patients seriously ill with influenza," Schaffner, co-author of the study, said.

The study has been released online by the Journal of Infectious Diseases.


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