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Statins as potential therapeutic drug for asthma?

Cheng Yuan1, Lin Zhou1, Jiyun Cheng1, Jingying Zhang1, Yue Teng1, Mao Huang1*, Ian M Adcock2, Peter J Barnes2 and Xin Yao1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Respiratory Medicine, The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, 300 Guangzhou Road, Nanjing, China

2 Airway Disease Section, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College, Dovehouse Street, London, UK

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Respiratory Research 2012, 13:108  doi:10.1186/1465-9921-13-108

Published: 24 November 2012



Statins are lipid-lowering agents that also exhibit pleiotropic effects in decreasing oxidative stress and inflammation. There have been several published studies reporting the use of statins in the treatment of asthma patients, but their results are not consistent. The aim of this study is to determine whether statins are beneficial for asthma administration, and explore the potential covariables that may affect their clinical effectiveness.


A systematic literature search was performed in PubMed, Embase and Cochrane Center Register of Controlled Trials from inception to September 2012. Randomized controlled trials (RCT), retrospective studies and controlled clinical trials which reported the use of statins in the treatment of asthma patients were eligible. Quality evaluation was conducted for RCT using Jadad criteria.


A total of 18 articles were included. In our study, we found no conclusive evidence to demonstrate that statins could enhance the lung function in asthmatics, although, they may reduce airway inflammation. Additionally, the results were not consistent across studies with respect to symptoms, quality of life, maintenance medication, asthma hospitalization/emergency department (ED) visits.


Statins may reduce airway inflammation in asthmatics, without having a significant effect on lung function. Further large sample and multicenter clinical trials are needed to confirm this and to see if there are more responsive phenotypes of asthma.

Statins; Asthma; Anti-inflammatory; Lung function