Researchers reported an association between statin drug use and reduced mortality rates among patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), according to results published in Frontiers in Pharmacology.

The authors conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to investigate the efficacy of cardiovascular medications such as statins, antihypertensive agents, and anticoagulants on the progressive disease process in patients with IPF.

The results showed that statin was the only beneficial cardiovascular medication to survival data of patients with IPF and was associated with a reduction in mortality (hazard ratio [HR], 0.89; 95% CI 0.83-0.97). A meta-analysis also revealed no significant affiliation between statin use and the decline of FVC (HR, 0.86; 95% CI 0.73-1.02).

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Findings did not demonstrate significant associations between the use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs)/angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) and improved survival data (HR, 1.16; 95% CI 0.62-2.19 and HR, 0.92; 95% CI 0.73-1.15, respectively).

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To complete the study, the investigators identified 2270 nonrandomized studies of cardiovascular medication use for patients with IPF published between January 2000 and July 2021. Following article assessments, they accepted only 12 studies that met all inclusion criteria in their final analysis.

The inclusion criteria included participants with a diagnosis of IPF, and interventions with any type of statins, ACEIs, ARBs, and anticoagulants. Controls in the study used placebos or other IPF treatments, and mortality or pulmonary function outcome reporting was also included.

Limitations of the study included the exclusion of gray literature by using only published materials. Most studies included used all-cause mortality and not specifically IPF-related mortality as a primary outcome which limited information regarding the actual cause of death in many of the studies. Lastly, there was a lack of randomized studies with half of the studies being retrospective in nature.

“We would recommend a prospective [randomized controlled trial] or cohort study that captures IPF-related outcomes of cardiovascular medications and use of concurrent antifibrotic treatment,” the authors concluded.


Zhang WT, Wang XJ, Xue CM, et al. The effect of cardiovascular medications on disease-related outcomes in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Frontiers in Pharmacology. 2021;12:2985. doi:10.3389/fphar.2021.771804