HealthDay News — In adults hospitalized for influenza virus infection, administration of statins before or during the hospitalization was associated with a reduced risk for mortality, data from a study published online first in the Journal of Infectious Diseases indicated.

“Statins may have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects that could reduce the risk of mortality from influenza virus infections,” Meredith L. Vandermeer, MPH, from the Oregon Public Health Division in Portland, and colleagues wrote.

They investigated whether treatment with statins reduced the risk of mortality in 3,043 adults hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza virus infection, 1,013 of whom received statins. The researchers analyzed active surveillance data for the 2007 to 2008 influenza season, collected through the CDC’s Emerging Infections Program.

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Within 30 days of receiving an influenza test, a total of 151 adults (5%) died. However, patients who had statins administered to them prior to or during hospitalization were 41% less likely to die (adjusted OR=0.59; 95% CI: 0.38–0.92), data from a multivariable logistic regression model that adjusted for confounding variables indicated.

Compared with patients who did not receive statins, those who received statins were more likely to be white, male, and older. Patients who received statins had a higher likelihood of having been vaccinated that season, and were more likely to have metabolic, renal, cardiovascular or chronic lung disease.

“Statin use may be associated with reduced mortality in patients hospitalized with influenza,” the researchers wrote.

One of the study authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

Vandermeer ML et al. J Infect Dis. 2011; doi: 10.1093/infdis/jir695.

Walsh EE. J Infect Dis. 2011; doi: 10.1093/infdis/jir693