Using a statin during the 30 days prior to hospital admission for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was associated with a lower risk of developing severe disease, and a faster time to recovery among patients without severe COVID-19, according to a study published in The American Journal of Cardiology.

“The impact of statins, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) on COVID-19 severity and recovery is important given their high prevalence of use among individuals at risk for severe COVID-19,” wrote Lori B Daniels, MD, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California, and colleagues.

In this study the electronic medical records of 170 patients with COVID-19 and 5,281 COVID-negative control patients hospitalized at University of California San Diego Health between February 10, 2020 and June 17, 2020 were analysed retrospectively.

Using multivariable logistic regression, researchers found that the use of statins prior to admission was associated with reduced risk of severe COVID-19 while the use of ACE inhibitors or ARBs were reported to be not significantly associated with risk of severe disease.

The researches also performed a logistic regression analysis on the COVID-negative hospitalised population and found that among COVID-negative inpatients, statins were associated with a 21% reduction in the adjusted odds of developing severe COVID disease.

Further analysis also showed that statin use prior to admission was associated with a faster time to recovery among those without severe disease.

“Use of statins prior to admission was associated with a more than 50% reduction in risk of developing severe COVID-19, after controlling for associated comorbid conditions and for concomitant use of ACE inhibitors or ARBs. In a competing risks time-to-event analysis, there was strong evidence that statin use was associated with considerably faster time to recovery,” the authors wrote, adding that randomized clinical trials are underway to assess whether statin medications may improve outcomes among COVID-19 patients.

Limitations of the study, according to the authors, include its observational design which cannot prove causality and which leaves open the possibility of residual confounding, and the relatively small sample size.

From The American Journal of Cardiology (In Press). Available online 16.09.2020