Study: Statins Could Reduce the Risk of Venous Thromboembolism

Statins could effectively reduce the threat of venous thromboembolism (VTE) by as much as 15% to 25%, according to recent research.

Previous research has suggested that statins could have a protective effect on VTE (including deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism), but the scope of this effect remains uncertain.

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In order to further examine this relationship, researchers conducted a review and meta-analysis of 36 observational cohort studies and 23 randomized controlled trials including 3,148,259 participants and 118,464 participants, respectively. Studies that compared statins with other statins or other lipid-lowering agents were excluded.

In observational studies, the pooled relative risk for VTE was 0.75 when statin use was compared with no statin use. In randomized controlled trials, the relative risk for VTE was 0.85 when statin therapy was compared with placebo or no treatment.

Further analysis suggested significant variation of effect by type of statin, with rosuvastatin having the lowest risk of VTE compared with other statins (0.57 relative risk). No evidence was found of an effect of statin use on the risk of pulmonary embolism, however, statin use was associated with a significant reduction in risk of deep vein thrombosis compared with no statin use.

“Available evidence from observational and intervention studies suggest a beneficial effect of statin use on venous thromboembolism. In intervention studies, therapy with rosuvastatin significantly reduced venous thromboembolism compared with other statins. Further evidence is however needed to validate these findings,” the researchers concluded.

—Michael Potts


Kunutsor SK, Seidu S, Khunti K.  Statins and primary prevention of venous thromboembolism: a systematic review and meta-analysis [published online January 12, 2017]. The Lancet Haematology, doi:10.1016/S2352-3026(16)30184-3.