10 February 2020
The potential benefits of statins for the prevention of exacerbations in patients with COPD remains controversial. No previous studies have investigated the impact of statins on clinical outcomes in COPD patients with frequent exacerbations.
This study aimed to evaluate the association between the use of statins and the risk of subsequent hospitalized exacerbations in COPD frequent exacerbators.
We conducted a population-based cohort study using the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database. 139,223 COPD patients with a first hospitalized exacerbation between 2004 and 2012 were analyzed. Among them, 35,482 had a second hospitalized exacerbation within a year after the first exacerbation, and were defined as frequent exacerbators. 1:4 propensity score matching was used to create matched samples of statin users and non-users. The competing risk regression analysis model was used to evaluate the association between statin use and exacerbation risk.
The use of statins was associated with a significantly reduced risk in subsequent hospitalized exacerbations in COPD patients after their first hospitalized exacerbation (adjusted subdistribution hazard ration [SHR], 0.89; 95% CI, 0.85–0.93, P<0.001). In frequent exacerbators, the SHR for subsequent hospitalized exacerbations in statins users was 0.88 (95% CI, 0.81–0.94, P=0.001). Subgroup analysis among frequent exacerbators demonstrated that the use of statins only provided a protective effect against subsequent hospitalized exacerbations in male patients aged 75 years and older, with coexisting diabetes mellitus, hypertension or cardiovascular disease, and no protective effect was observed in those with lung cancer or depression. Current use of statins was associated with a greater protective effect for reducing subsequent hospitalized exacerbation.