Statins: Lowers Cholesterol and Saves Lives from Influenza

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By Lord Jorrel Polintan | December 15, 2011 1:30 PM EST

The influenza virus is widespread around the world. And even with the last influenza 2011 reports of Australia's Department of Health and Ageing suggesting that the incidence of the virus has decreased, there is still the fear of death related to it. But new research done may ease those fears as statins may be used to prevent deaths from influenza.  

Statins, which are used to lower the cholesterol level, are a class of drugs that are commonly used by people who have atherosclerosis, a condition which causes chest pains, heart attacks, and strokes.

This drug can actually save the lives of those who are suffering from influenza, according to lead author Meredith L. Vandermeer, MPH, then with the Oregon Public Health Division in Portland. Researchers noted that this is the first published observational study that evaluated the relationship between statis use and the mortality in hospitalized patients with lab-confirmed virus influenza infection. 

Using the data collected from hospitalized adults during the 2007 to 2008 influenza season, the researchers assessed the relationship between patients prescribed with the cholesterol level-lowering drug and influenza-related deaths. The data came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Emerging Infections Program, which conducts active surveillance for patients hospitalized with confirmed influenza in 59 counties in 10 states. 

In the study, 33% among the 3,043 hospitalized patients with laboratory-confirmed influenza were given statin medications prior to or during hospitalization.

The researchers adjusted the data gathered for age, race, cardiovascular disease, chronic lung disease, renal disease, influenza receipt, and inititation of antivirals within 48 hours of admission and discovered that patients who were not receiving statins were almost twice as likely to die from influenza as those who did receive the medication.

However, the researchers noted that since their study was observational, there may have been confounding factors that were not considered through the review of patients' charts. In addition, researchers did not track the amount of statin use by patients during their entire hospital stay.

With that in mind, what exactly is statin? As mentioned earlier, statins are used to prevent and treat atherosclerosis, MedicineNet.com reported. However, along with that condition, diabetes may be acquired. That is why taking statin is so important.

Currently, statins that are approved for use in the United States include Lipitor, Lescol, Mevacor, Pravachol, Crestor, Zocor, and Livalo.

But statins, like some drugs, also have its side effects like headache, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrehea, rash, weakness, muscle pain, and on extremely rare cases, liver failure.

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