From the Journals

Statin use linked to less depression, anxiety in ACOS patients



Adults with asthma–chronic obstructive pulmonary disease overlap syndrome who took statins had lower rates of anxiety and depression than did those not on statins, based on data from approximately 9,000 patients.

Although asthma–COPD overlap syndrome (ACOS) has been associated with depression, the effects of oral and inhaled corticosteroids on anxiety and depression in these patients have not been well investigated, wrote Jun-Jun Yeh, MD, of Ditmanson Medical Foundation Chia-Yi (Taiwan) Christian Hospital, and colleagues.

In a study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, the researchers analyzed 9,139 ACOS patients including 1,252 statin users and 7,887 nonstatin users; 62% were male.

The statin users had significantly lower risk of both anxiety and depression than did the nonstatin users (adjusted hazard ratio 0.34 for anxiety and 0.36 for depression) after researchers controlled for factors including age, sex, comorbidities, and medications. Statin users experienced a total of 109 anxiety or depression events over an average of 8 years’ follow-up, while nonstatin users experienced a total of 1,333 anxiety or depression events over an average of 5 years’ follow-up.

The incidence density rate of anxiety was 11/1,000 person-years for statin users and 33/1,000 person-years for nonstatin users. The incidence density rate of depression was 3/1,000 person-years for statin users and 9/1,000 person-years for nonstatin users.

Significantly lower risk of anxiety and depression also were observed in statin users, compared with nonstatin users, in subgroups of men, women, patients younger than 50 years, and patients aged 50 years and older. The risks of anxiety and depression were lower in statin users versus nonstatin users across all subgroups with or without inhaled or oral corticosteroids.

Overall, the statin users were significantly younger, had more comorbidities, and were more likely to use inhaled or oral corticosteroids than were the nonstatin users.

The findings were limited by several factors including the retrospective nature of the study and a lack of information on prescribed daily doses of medication, the researchers noted. However, the results support those from previous studies and suggest that “the anti-inflammatory effect of statins may attenuate anxiety and depression in ACOS patients, even in the late stages of the disease,” although the exact mechanism of action remains unknown and larger, randomized, controlled trials are needed, they said.

The study was supported by grants from a variety of organizations in Taiwan, China, and Japan. The researchers had no financial conflicts to disclose.

SOURCE: Yeh JJ et al. J Affect Disord. 2019 Jun 15; 253:277-84.

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