Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Original article
Statin treatment is associated with a decreased risk of active tuberculosis: an analysis of a nationally representative cohort
  1. Chih-Cheng Lai1,
  2. Meng-tse Gabriel Lee2,
  3. Shih-Hao Lee2,
  4. Wan-Ting Hsu2,
  5. Shy-Shin Chang3,4,
  6. Shyr-Chyr Chen2,
  7. Chien-Chang Lee2,5
  1. 1Department of Intensive Care Medicine, Chi Mei Medical Center, Liouying, Tainan, Taiwan
  2. 2Department of Emergency Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
  3. 3Department of Family Medicine, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Linkou, Taiwan
  4. 4Graduate Institute of Clinical Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan, Taiwan
  5. 5Department of Emergency Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Yunlin Branch, Douliou, Taiwan
  1. Correspondence to Dr Chien-Chang Lee, Department of Emergency Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital Yunlin Branch, No. 579, Yunlin Road, Douliou 640, Taiwan; cclee100{at}


Background Epidemiological data suggest that statins improve the clinical outcome of respiratory infections. We sought to examine whether statin therapy decreases the risk of active TB.

Methods We conducted a nested case-control study on data obtained from a national health insurance claims database between 1999 and 2011. The use of statins was classified as current, recent, past or chronic use. Three conditional logistic regression models were used to estimate the incidence rate ratios (RRs). The first assessed the effect of statin use without further adjustment; the second adjusted (individually) for 75 potential confounders; and the third adjusted for the Disease Risk Score (DRS).

Results A total of 8098 new TB cases and 809 800 control patients were examined. All four types of statin users showed a decreased risk of active TB. Chronic use (>90 days in a calendar year) of statins was associated with the lowest unadjusted risk of TB (RR 0.74; 95% CI 0.63 to 0.87). The protective effect of active TB remained after adjusting for individual confounders (RR 0.66; 95% CI 0.56 to 0.78) and after DRS adjustment (RR 0.62; 95% CI 0.53 to 0.72). The effect estimates obtained for chronic and current use of statins were very similar. We also found that the active TB protection increased with increasing length of statin prescription.

Conclusions We found that statin therapy was associated with a decreased risk of active TB, and the length of statin therapy affected the TB protection. Given the observational nature of this study, the protective effect against active TB must be confirmed in future randomised trials.

  • Tuberculosis

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Linked Articles

  • Airwaves
    Nicholas Hart Gisli Jenkins Alan Smyth