Objective: Statins are hypothesized to have beneficial effects in asthma management through their pleiotropic anti-inflammatory effects. Several studies have examined this relationship, but have yielded conflicting results. This study investigates the effect of statin use on asthma-related hospitalizations and/or emergency department (ED) visits, and whether this relationship varies by concomitant inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) in a large cohort of asthma patients.
Methods: Subjects with asthma, a recent history of asthma exacerbation, and who were 18 years or older were selected from the population-based Medco Health Solutions administrative database over a 1 year period. Prescription claims for statins and asthma medications, and asthma-related hospitalizations and/or ED visits were ascertained over a 12 month follow-up period. Subjects were stratified into two groups based on their ICS use.
Results: A total of 3747 ICS users and 2905 non-ICS users were included in this study. Statin users represented 21% of ICS users and 11% of non-users. Among ICS users, statin use was significantly associated with decreased odds of asthma-related ED visits (OR = 0.77, 95% CI 0.64-0.94, p = 0.008), but not with asthma-related hospitalizations (OR = 1.09, 95% CI 0.92-1.30, p = 0.31). No significant associations were found among non-ICS users (for asthma-related ED visits: OR = 0.92, 95% CI 0.57-1.49, p = 0.73; asthma-related hospitalizations: OR = 1.10, 95% CI 0.85-1.41, p = 0.48). The statistical interactions between ICS and statin use on asthma-related hospitalizations and/or ED visits were not significant.
Conclusion: Statin use is associated with fewer ED visits in asthma patients who are using ICS.