Cholesterol drug 'could help flu patients'

19 December 2011

Drugs used to lower cholesterol levels could reduce the mortality rate for patients hospitalised with influenza, new research has found.

The study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases found that statins, drugs usually used to lower cholesterol in patients who may be at risk of heart problems, could also significantly reduce the risk of death from the flu.

William Schaffner, co-author of the investigation professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and chair of preventive medicine William Schaffner said: "We may be able to combine statins with antiviral drugs to provide better treatment for patients seriously ill with influenza."

Professor Schaffner and a team of researchers found that out of 3,043 patients with influenza, those who were given the drug were twice as likely to survive as those who were not treated with statins.

There are three main ways to prevent flu, namely good hygiene, the flu vaccination and antiviral medicines. Healthcare experts have urged people to get the flu vaccination, with particular risk groups including the elderly and pregnant women.

Posted by Edward Bartel                                        

Schaddner, W, et al., "Association Between Use of Statins and Mortality Among Patients Hospitalized With Laboratory-Confirmed Influenza Virus Infections: A Multistate Study", Journal of Infectious Diseases, December 2011-12-19

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