Are Inhaled Statins a Viable Option for Asthmatics?

Simvastatin may reduce inflammation, fibrosis, bronchial constriction, mucus

Are inhaled statins a viable option for asthmatics? Dr Amir Zeki MD, MAS, University of California, is on a mission to find out.

At the 2017 meeting of the American Thoracic Society in Washington, DC, Zeki said that in addition to the cardiovascular and cholesterol-lowering benefit they have currently, statins may hold untapped potential for treating pulmonary conditions like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Current studies are measuring how statins are distributed through the body when administered via inhalation, in hopes that they might hit targets that are beyond the reach of typical inhaled corticosteroids.

Statins are promising, Zeki said, because they have the potential to reduce inflammation, fibrosis, bronchial constriction and mucus production — all key, aggravating factors for asthma patients. However, before they can be tested in humans, Zeki must first prove that statins can be administered safely and accurately.

Should the drug be proven safe, and its ability to be administered via inhalation viable, Zeki said it could become an adjunct to inhaled corticosteroids as part of an asthma or COPD treatment program for patients that may be failing existing therapies.

So far, in non-human primates and mice, inhaled simvastatin has been shown to be tolerated well, and there is no evidence of any adverse injury to the lungs or airways.

Within the next year, Zeki plans to put in proposals for a phase I study of inhaled simvastatin in humans, he said.