Objectives: We hypothesised that severe asthmatics taking a statin drug, in addition to inhaled corticosteroids/long-acting β-agonist inhaler therapy, would have better asthma symptom control and improved lung function compared to their controls. Study design: A retrospective, cross-sectional study of 165 patients with severe asthma seen from 2001-2008. Hierarchical linear and logistic regression models were used for modelling fitting. Setting: University of California, Davis Medical Center (Sacramento, California, USA). Academic, single-centre, severe asthma subspecialty clinic. Participants: 612 screened, 223 eligible and 165 adult patients were included in the final study (N=165; 31 statin users and 134 non-users). Primary and secondary outcome measures: The primary endpoint was asthma control as measured by the Asthma Control Test (ACT). The secondary endpoints included lung function, symptoms and the need for corticosteroid burst and peripheral eosinophil count. Results: At baseline, statin users compared to nonusers were older, had lower lung function (FEV 1% predicted, FEV1, forced vital capacity and FEF 25-75%) and had a higher prevalence of comorbid conditions. Statin use was associated with more aspirin and ipratropium inhaler use than in non-users. Patients in both groups were obese (body mass index ≥ 30). Statin users had better asthma symptom control compared to non-users (higher adjusted mean ACT score by 2.2±0.94 points, p<0.02). Median statin use was for 1 year. There were no statistically significant differences in lung function, corticosteroid or rescue bronchodilator use or peripheral eosinophilia between the two groups. Conclusions: In our severe asthma referral population, statin users already taking inhaled controller therapy achieved better asthma control compared to non-users. The implications of this study is that patients with severe asthma could potentially benefit from added statin treatment. Because our study population was on average obese, the obese severe asthmatic may be a viable asthma subphenotype for further studies. Prospective randomised clinical trials evaluating the safety and efficacy of statins in severe asthma are warranted.
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