OCT 04, 2017 11:35 AM PDT

Statins decrease risk of S. aureus bacteremia

WRITTEN BY: Kerry Evans

Statins are widely used to help treat cardiovascular disease - they work by inhibiting the production of cholesterol. New research indicates that statins may do more than that. Researchers in Denmark, led by study author Jesper Smit, found that statin use may decrease the risk of contracting S. aureus bacteremia.

 

Statins inhibit the production of cholesterol

Image: thetruthaboutcancer.com

Previous studies have examined the antimicrobial effects of statins, but the mechanism of action is not clear. In a commentary on Smit’s article, Daniel C. DeSimone and Christopher V. DeSimone note that statins may exert their antimicrobial effects in a number of ways - they may inhibit host cell invasion by bacteria or they may prevent biofilm formation. Interestingly, statins are not only effective against S. aureus, but they are also effective against multidrug-resistant Enterococcus, Acinetobacter baumannii, and Enterobacter aerogenes.

To pin down a connection between statin use and S. aureus infection, Smit and colleagues used population-based medical registries in Denmark to study patients with first-time community-acquired S. aureus bacteremia (CA-SAB) and their matched controls. The study was conducted between January of 2000 and December of 2011 and covered a catchment population of some 1.8 million people!

The group identified just over 2,600 people (over the age of 15) with first-time CA-SAB and determined whether these individuals took statins or had confounding health issues. Fourteen percent of the people with CA-SAB used statins, and 12.2% of the controls used them; simvastatin was the most widely used statin, followed by atorvastatin. Not too surprisingly, people with CA-SAB also had other comorbidities, including peripheral artery disease, chronic heart failure, diabetes, and cancer.

In terms of statin use and the risk for CA-SAB, current statin users had an overall risk score (OR) of 0.73, compared to an OR of 1.00 for nonusers. Interestingly, the risk of CA-SAB decreased as the statin dose increased; people who took less than 20 mg of statins per day had an OR of 0.84, while taking greater than 40 mg per day decreased the OR to 0.63. Finally, the statin-dependent decrease in risk for CA-SAB was greatest in people with chronic kidney disease or diabetes.

According to Smit, “our results indicate that statins may have an important place in the prevention of bloodstream infection caused by S. aureus, which would hold important clinical and public health implications. Nevertheless, our observations warrant confirmation in other settings, and the biological mechanisms by which statin treatment may protect against this type of infection should be explored further.”

Sources: Mayo Clinic Proceedings (Sogaard), Mayo Clinic Proceedings (DeSimone), EurekAlert

 
About the Author
  • Kerry received a doctorate in microbiology from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
You May Also Like
DEC 04, 2019
Clinical & Molecular DX
DEC 04, 2019
Genetic platform takes the guesswork out of catching infections
A physician is faced with 3 patients: an elderly person with a chronic cough, a child being wheeled out of surgery and a young mother with a high fever. Ho...
DEC 17, 2019
Cannabis Sciences
DEC 17, 2019
Overhauling the Endocannabinoid System with High-fat, High-sugar Diet
If both the endocannabinoid system and the intestinal microbiome are affected by dietary consumption habits, wouldn’t it be reasonable to suggest tha...
DEC 20, 2019
Neuroscience
DEC 20, 2019
Are Migraines Caused by Unhealthy Gut Bacteria?
Research is increasingly pointing towards the importance of the gut-brain axis in regulating our health. Not only has the health of our gut bacteria, or mi...
FEB 17, 2020
Immunology
FEB 17, 2020
Another HIV vaccine attempt fizzles out
Years of work and over $100 million in study costs have been abandoned after an HIV-vaccine tested in South Africa failed to protect treated individuals ag...
FEB 23, 2020
Immunology
FEB 23, 2020
New discovery could help preterm babies breathe easy
Babies born more than three weeks before full term are met with complicated and often life-threatening health challenges. Most notably, these tiny preterm...
FEB 21, 2020
Health & Medicine
FEB 21, 2020
Should You Really be Scared of the Coronavirus?
As of February 21st, the death toll for coronavirus reached 2,250, 55,707 currently infected, of which 12,066 (22%) are in a serious or critical condition....
Loading Comments...