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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Effects of short-term treatment with atorvastatin in smokers with asthma - a randomized controlled trial

Georgina Braganza1, Rekha Chaudhuri1, Charles McSharry2, Christopher J Weir3, Iona Donnelly2, Lisa Jolly2, Jane Lafferty1, Suzanne M Lloyd4, Mark Spears1, Frances Mair5 and Neil C Thomson1*

Author Affiliations

1 Respiratory Medicine, Institute of Infection, Immunity & Inflammation, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK

2 Immunology, Institute of Infection, Immunity & Inflammation, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK

3 MRC Hub for Trials Methodology Research, University of Edinburgh, UK

4 Robertson Centre for Biostatistics, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK

5 General Practice, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK

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BMC Pulmonary Medicine 2011, 11:16  doi:10.1186/1471-2466-11-16

Published: 7 April 2011



The immune modulating properties of statins may benefit smokers with asthma. We tested the hypothesis that short-term treatment with atorvastatin improves lung function or indices of asthma control in smokers with asthma.


Seventy one smokers with mild to moderate asthma were recruited to a randomized double-blind parallel group trial comparing treatment with atorvastatin (40 mg per day) versus placebo for 4 weeks. After 4 weeks treatment inhaled beclometasone (400 μg per day) was added to both treatment arms for a further 4 weeks. The primary outcome was morning peak expiratory flow after 4 weeks treatment. Secondary outcome measures included indices of asthma control and airway inflammation.


At 4 weeks, there was no improvement in the atorvastatin group compared to the placebo group in morning peak expiratory flow [-10.67 L/min, 95% CI -38.70 to 17.37, p = 0.449], but there was an improvement with atorvastatin in asthma quality of life score [0.52, 95% CI 0.17 to 0.87 p = 0.005]. There was no significant improvement with atorvastatin and inhaled beclometasone compared to inhaled beclometasone alone in outcome measures at 8 weeks.


Short-term treatment with atorvastatin does not alter lung function but may improve asthma quality of life in smokers with mild to moderate asthma.

Trial Registration identifier: NCT00463827