Statins have been postulated to prevent infection through immunomodulatory effects.
To compare the incidence of infections in statin users to that in nonusers within the same health care system.
This was a retrospective cohort study of patients enrolled as Tricare Prime or Plus in the San Antonio military multimarket. Statin users were patients who received a statin for at least 3 months between October 1, 2004 and September 30, 2005. Nonusers were patients who did not receive a statin within the study period (October 1, 2003-September 30, 2009). Inpatient and outpatient International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) codes were used to determine the incidence of infections during the follow-up period (October 1, 2005-September 30, 2009) via multivariable regression analysis and time to infection via Cox regression analysis.
Of 45,247 patients who met the study criteria, 12,981 (29%) were statin users and 32,266 were nonusers. After adjustments for age, gender, Charlson Comorbidity Score, tobacco use, alcohol abuse/dependence, health care utilization and use of specific medication classes, statin use was associated with an increased incidence of common infections (odds ratio [OR]: 1.13; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.06-1.19) but not influenza or fungal infections (OR: 1.06, 95% CI: 0.80-1.39; OR: 0.97; 95% CI: 0.91-1.04, respectively). Time-to-first infection was similar in statin users and nonusers in all infection categories examined.
Statin use was associated with an increased incidence of common infections but not influenza or fungal infections. This study does not support a protective role of statins in infection prevention; however, the influence of potential confounders cannot be excluded.