Tags: statin drug | simvastatin | lowers cholesterol | lowers resistance | Zocor | Simvacor

Statin Drug Weakens Immune System

Thursday, 25 Mar 2010 08:10 AM


The statin drug simvastatin may lower cholesterol, but a new study shows it also gives a one-two punch to the immune system. Italian scientists found that simvastatin (sold under the names of Zocor and Simvacor) hinders the ability of the body's immune cells to kill pathogens, and increases the production of cytokines, which trigger and sustain inflammation.

To make their discovery, researchers infected human cells with Staphlococcus aureus, a pathogen commonly found on the skin and in the upper airways. Some of the cells were treated with simvastatin. Once the infection developed, the immune cells were examined.

The ability of the cells to kill and remove the pathogen was significantly impaired in those treated with simvastatin. In addition, the treated cells produced higher amounts of cytokines. The same experiment was conducted using mice with similar results.

"Statins are lifesavers, but there might be room for improvement," John Wherry, Ph.D., deputy editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, said in a statement.

Lifestyle changes can also help lower cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends:

• Eating a heart-healthy diet. Include at least 25 to 30 grams of dietary fiber in your diet each day, and limit your fat intake to between 25 and 35 percent.

• Engaging in regular physical activity. Try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day.

• Avoiding tobacco smoke. Smoking reduces the levels of HDL (good) cholesterol in the blood.





© HealthDay

   
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The statin drug simvastatin may lower cholesterol, but a new study shows it also gives a one-two punch to the immune system.
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2010-10-25
Thursday, 25 Mar 2010 08:10 AM
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