Statin Investigated as Possible COPD Treatment in HIV-infected Patients

A total of 22 HIV-infected individuals were randomized to either 24 weeks of placebo or rosuvastatin
A total of 22 HIV-infected individuals were randomized to either 24 weeks of placebo or rosuvastatin

A pilot study in HIV-infected individuals found that rosuvastatin appeared to improve symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in patients with abnormal lung function.

Rosuvastatin, an HMG Co-A reductase inhibitor, is commonly used to treat various lipid disorders. As COPD is associated with persistent inflammation, researchers aimed to find out what effect the drug may have on lung function. 

A total of 22 HIV-infected individuals with abnormal lung function were included in this placebo-controlled, triple-blinded study. Participants were randomized to either 24 weeks of placebo (n=11) or rosuvastatin (n=11). At 24 weeks, forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide (DLco) %-predicted were compared to baseline in the two groups. 

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Results showed that the placebo group had a significant decline in FEV1 %-predicted (P=0.027), and no change in DLco%-predicted over 24 weeks. The rosuvastatin treated group displayed a stable FEV1 %-predicted change while DLco%-predicted increased significantly (P=0.027), although this change did not represent a significant difference in absolute change between placebo and rosuvastatin.

The authors note that this is the first study to test a therapy for COPD in HIV-infected patients, and given the limited cohort, they call for further, larger-scale trials to be conducted.

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