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This cohort study compared all cause mortality within 6 months after contracting pneumonia in patients who had been taking a statin prior to developing pneumonia against those who had not. Data were sourced from The Health Improvement Network database and validated for pharmacoepidemiological research; propensity scoring was used for comparative analysis of patients in the two subgroups. A total of 129 288 patients who had received a statin were matched with 600 241 patients who had not. Following exclusions and restrictions, 942 statin users and 3615 non-users were included in the analysis. Of these, 204 statin users and 1264 non-users died within 6 months of the date of diagnosis of pneumonia. The fully adjusted rate ratio for mortality between statin users and non-users was 0.67 (95% CI 0.49 to 0.87). An estimation of the number needed to treat to prevent one death within 6 months of an episode of pneumonia was 15.
The results of this study show that the risk of dying within 6 months of pneumonia is lower among patients established on statin treatment when the pneumonia occurred. The authors support a case for randomised trials of statins in patients with pneumonia to determine whether a short period of statin treatment could reduce mortality.
▶ Douglas I, Evans S, Smeeth L. Effect of statin treatment on short term mortality after pneumonia episode: cohort study. BMJ 2011;342:d1642. doi:10.1136/bmj.d1642.