Influenza Risk Not Increased by Statins Following Vaccination

Treatment with statin medications around the time of influenza vaccination does not significantly affect influenza risk in older adults.

Treatment with statin medications around the time of influenza vaccination does not significantly affect the risk for influenza in older patients, according to study results published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The investigators in this retrospective study collected outcomes data on Medicare beneficiaries age >65 who used statins (n=1,403,651) and matched these patients to nonstatin users. Beneficiaries had received either a standard dose (SD) or a high dose (HD) of the influenza vaccine. Investigators sought to determine the association between statin use and the influenza vaccine with the occurrence of influenza-related office visits followed by a prescription for oseltamivir. In addition, the investigators assessed for the occurrence of influenza-related hospitalizations.

Compared with non-statin users, statin users had an adjusted relative risk (RR) for influenza-related doctor visits of 1.086 (95% CI, 1.025-1.150) and a RR of 1.096 for hospitalizations (95% CI, 1.013-1.185). A similar rate of influenza hospitalizations occurred in statin users and nonusers during 17,151,832 person-weeks (0.77/10,000 person-weeks vs 0.70/10,000 person-weeks, respectively; risk difference –0.04 to 0.13). There was no evidence to suggest that statin use by receipt of HD to SD vaccine influenced the risk for influenza-related visits (interaction P =.11 to.4).

The investigators of this analysis did not differentiate between the effect of statins on vaccine effectiveness vs the effect of statins themselves on influenza risk. Also, the investigators did not account for body mass index, smoking status, diet, or socioeconomic status in statin users and nonusers, which may have affected the findings.

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This study supports the use of statins even during influenza vaccination, with the investigators suggesting that the study’s results “should be interpreted in the context of the well-established benefits of statins for reducing the risk of cardiovascular outcomes.”


Izurieta HS, Chillarige Y, Kelman JA, et al. Statin use and risks of influenza-related outcomes among older adults receiving standard-dose or high-dose influenza vaccines through Medicare during 2010-2015 [published online February 9, 2018]. Clin Infect Dis. doi:10.1093/cid/ciy100

This article originally appeared on The Cardiology Advisor