Statins Do Not Lower the Risk of COPD Exacerbation, Finds Study

Pavankumar Kamat


December 17, 2021


Why this matters

  • Findings suggest that statins should not be prescribed in routine primary care to reduce exacerbations in patients with COPD without other indications.

Study design

  • A retrospective cohort study included 48,124 patients with COPD (age, >40 years) who had not been prescribed statins in the previous year, identified from the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink (2007-2017).

  • Primary outcomes: COPD exacerbation and severe exacerbation requiring hospitalisation.

  • Secondary outcomes: death from any cause and urinary tract infection (UTI).

  • Funding: National Institute for Health Research School for Primary Care Research.

Key results

  • Statin use vs no use was not associated with a lower risk of (adjusted HR [aHR]; 95% CI):

    • first exacerbation (1.01; 0.96-1.06; P=0.657); and

    • recurrent exacerbation (1.00; 0.97-1.04; P=0.885).

  • Statin use vs no use was associated with a marginally lower risk of severe exacerbation requiring hospitalisation (aHR, 0.92; 95% CI, 0.84-0.99; P=0.034); and

  • Statin use vs no use was associated with a lower risk of death from any cause (aHR, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.76-0.92; P<0.001).

  • Statin use vs no use was associated with an increased risk of UTI, but the risk was not statically significant (aHR, 1.10; 95% CI, 0.98-1.23; P=0.112).


  • Retrospective design.

  • Risk of residual confounding.

Smith MC, Ashdown HF, Sheppard JP, Butler CC, Bankhead C. Statin prescription in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and risk of exacerbations: a retrospective cohort study in the Clinical Practice Research Datalink. BMJ Open. 2021;11(12):e050757. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-050757. PMID: 34876426  View Full Text.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.