Can it Get Much Worse? Drug Company Now Claims Statins Recommended for Swine Flu
November 28, 2009
Drug companies are now claiming that cholesterol-lowering statin drugs like Lipitor and Zocor can be used as a treatment for swine flu.
A large study found that people who were taking these drugs when they caught seasonal flu and had to be hospitalized were twice as likely to survive than those who were not on such medicines.
The study involved 2,800 people hospitalized with lab-confirmed seasonal flu in 10 states in 2007-2008.
Medical records show that 801 received statins in the hospital. They probably were just continuing the cholesterol treatment they had been taking before catching the flu, though researchers don't know this for sure.
More than 3 percent of those not taking statins died in the hospital or in the following month. The rate was half that among statin users, even though they were more likely to have underlying health problems like heart disease.
This doesn't prove that statins can cure flu, or that starting on them after catching the flu would help. A federal study is under way now to test that. Doctors are optimistic, because previous studies also found that statins may improve survival from infectious diseases.