We have been talking for months about the link between statins and Covid, since a study released last spring showed that patients hospitalized with the infection caused by the coronavirus had a half risk of losing their life, compared to those who did not take it and were in the same condition.
What are statins and who should take them
the statins they are drugs widely used to reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood, also known as “bad” cholesterol. Having high levels of LDL cholesterol can lead to hardening and narrowing of the arteries and cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol levels are a risk factor for Covid. In Italy about 4,100,000 people make regular use of it. It is estimated that at least double the audience should be employed.
Statins and Covid: the international study
Now has arrived a study involving Swedish and Australian researchers, conducted on nearly 1,000,000 people, which focused on the relationship between statins and mortality from Covid. The results showed that statin use was associated with a slightly lower risk of dying from the disease. The study was published in the prestigious scientific journal PLOS Medicine.
Data collected from public records without verifying adherence to therapy
The researchers used data on people living in the Stockholm area of Sweden from various public registers, including the Swedish Register of Prescribed Drugs and the Swedish Register of Causes of Death. The data included information on education and income levels, as well as information from hospitals and outpatient clinics on pre-existing conditions, according to the International Classification of Diseases, collected prescriptions and Covid-related deaths. Those who took statins tended to be older than those who did not. They also tended to have more comorbidities, such as ischemic heart disease, heart failure, and hypertension.
The results of the study on statins and Covid
The researchers found that statin treatment was linked to a moderately lower risk of Covid mortality, regardless of age, gender and overall risk.
The consequences on the immune response
It is possible that the anti-inflammatory effects of statins and the ability to modulate the immune response could have a positive effect on a person with Covid. However, the exact mechanisms are not yet known.
The limitations of the study on statins and Covid
A limitation of the study is that its results are based on registry data and, therefore, it is not known whether people took the medications as prescribed. This is an observational study. It means that the association between statin use and improved COVID-19 outcomes could be the result of another factor that the authors were unable to capture and adjust in their analyzes. For example, they did not have the BMI or smoking status of the patients. In addition, no one verified whether these patients really took the prescribed statins or not.