Statins show promise for yet another use

Statin drugs--those ubiquitous cholesterol-lowering pills--have been hailed as potential treatments for everything from cancer to rheumatoid arthritis. And researchers now say the drugs could be pneumonia-fighters.

A new analysis of the Jupiter study--designed to show whether AstraZeneca's Crestor was better than placebo at cutting cholesterol--found that fewer Crestor patients got pneumonia during the study compared with those receiving placebo: 214 versus 257, to be exact. Crestor patients were also less likely to develop other sorts of infections, too.

This isn't a bolt out of the blue; a 2008 study showed that people hospitalized with pneumonia were less likely to die if they used a statin drug. Other data suggests that statins may help reduce inflammation and prevent a dysfunctional immune system from attacking healthy tissue, Bloomberg reports. The new study has researchers calling for trials of statins in lung disease patients

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