Statins may worsen asthma

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Statins might worsen asthma control, researchers said here at the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology 2011 Annual Scientific Meeting.

Statin influence allergic inflammation with immunomodulatory activities, said lead author Safa Nsouli, MD, director of the Danville Asthma and Allergy Clinic in California. These include the downregulation of the T helper (TH)1 phenotype response and the upregulation of the TH2 phenotype response. At 3 months, patients in the statin group had a 20% decrease in FEV1 from baseline, compared with patients in the nonstatin group, who had a 10% decrease. At 6 months, the decreases were 28% and 12%, respectively; at 12 months, the decreases were 35% and 14%.

The use of beta-agonist rescue inhalers was also higher in the statin group. At 3 months, peak expiratory flow was decreased by 18% in the statin group, and by 4% in nonstatin group. At 6 months, it was decreased by 25% and 9%, respectively, and at 12 months, it was decreased by 39% and 11%.

Statin users had more nighttime wakening and a greater increase in daytime symptoms than nonusers. At 12 months, the increase in nighttime wakening was 31% and 3%, respectively, and the increase in daytime asthma symptoms was 35% and 3%.

Patients with asthma who need to take statins should not stop taking these drugs. But it does mean that they should be treated more aggressively.