Statin Drugs For Critically Ill Patients? Oy Veh!

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I am rarely rendered speechless, but after reading the latest article published in JAMA, yours truly had his tongue tied up.  The title of the article is, “Effect of Statin Therapy on Mortality in Patients With Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia.”  (JAMA online October 9, 2013).  The authors of this article hypothesized that statin therapy may decrease the mortality of ICU ventilator-assisted patient.

Before I tell you how the ICU patients who were treated with a statin drug faired, let me tell you I was stunned when I saw the title of the article.  My first thought was, “Who in their right mind would think that critically ill patients would get better by poisoning a crucial enzyme?”  Statin drugs poison the crucial enzyme HMG CoA Reductase.

Cholesterol is an essential substance that has antibacterial properties associated with it.  Keep in mind that we cannot live without adequate amounts of cholesterol.  There are studies that show people with lower cholesterol levels have increased mortality rates.  Knowing this, who would want to lower a critically ill patient’s cholesterol level?  Asking questions like these makes me think I must be in Alice in Wonderland where down is up and up is down.

The JAMA study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 26 intensive care units in France.  They enrolled 1002 unlucky patients who were receiving ventilator-assisted breathing therapy for more than two days.  These patients were also suffering from pneumonia.  The patients were randomized to receive Zocor (60mg) or placebo.

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