Effect of statins on asthma control and airway inflammation in smokers with asthma

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow
Department Name: College of Medical, Veterinary &Life Sci

Abstract

Statins are the commonest type of cholesterol-lowering drugs used in clinical practice. Recent research suggests that they may also have anti-inflammatory properties.
Statins have been found to reduce inflammation in experimental models of asthma and smoking induced airway disease. These findings point to a potential use of statins in treating airway diseases.
Smokers with asthma have difficult to control symptoms, in part due to a reduced sensitivity to corticosteroids. We plan to perform a ‘proof of concept’ study to determine the effectiveness of statin therapy in smokers with asthma.
The study will be an 8-week randomised controlled clinical trial comparing the effect on asthma control of oral atorvastatin therapy with that of a matched placebo. A total of 74 smokers with asthma will be recruited to the study. We will examine the effect of statin therapy on lung function, symptom scores, exacerbation rates, as well as on measurement of airway inflammation in sputum and in the blood.
This study will determine the benefit of atorvastatin as a therapy in smokers with asthma and establish if statins might have a role in asthma management.

Technical Summary

Asthma is a common disease in Westernised societies, affecting up to 10% of the population. Corticosteroids are the most effective treatment for asthma but the therapeutic response varies considerably between individuals. A major cause of corticosteroid insensitivity in asthma is cigarette smoking. Alternative or additional drugs to corticosteroids are needed for smokers with asthma who are unable to stop smoking. Several licensed drugs and new drugs under development might be of benefit for these patients1, but none have yet been evaluated specifically in smokers with asthma. Recent animal research from our own group and others suggests that statins may have anti-inflammatory properties that could improve asthma control and reduce airway inflammation in smokers with asthma. In a proof of concept clinical trial we plan to investigate the efficacy of statins in this important, but understudied clinical group. This randomised controlled trial will test the hypothesis that statins improve asthma control of smokers with chronic asthma. The study will be a 8-week randomised controlled trial comparing the effect on asthma control of oral atorvastatin therapy with that of a matched placebo. A total of 74 smokers with asthma will be recruited to the study. We will examine the effect of statin therapy on lung function, symptom scores, exacerbation rates, as well as on measurement of airway inflammation in sputum and in the blood. This study will determine the benefit of atorvastatin as a therapy in smokers with asthma and establish if statins might have a role in asthma management.

Publications

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Description Drug supply for RCT 
Organisation Pfizer Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Supplied active and placebo IMP
Collaborator Contribution Supply of active and placebo IMP
Impact The clinical trial was completed in June 2009.
Start Year 2006