Background: Statins are effective for primary and secondary prevention of atherosclerotic
cardiovascular disease. They also have systemic anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating properties
suggesting potential utility for improving clinical outcomes for a wide range of diseases. The literature
provides data suggesting benefit in patients with comorbidities associated with contrast-induced nephropathy
(CIN), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia, head injury, neurological
disease (e.g. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease), prostate cancer, nuclear cataract and spinal cord
injury. This systematic review evaluates the current evidence supporting the potential benefit of statins
outside their customary role of attenuating cardiovascular risk reduction.
Methods: The electronic databases MEDLINE, EMBASE, and clinicaltrials.gov were searched for studies
published January 2000 - March 2018 reporting comorbidity reduction associated with statin use.
Results: Fifty-eight publications that satisfied our selection criteria (based on the PRISM guidance for
systematic reviews) were selected and included case-control, cohort, cross-sectional and observational
studies as well as systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Ten studies addressed statin use and incidence
of CIN after coronary imaging; 8 addressed statin use in patients with COPD; 14 addressed statin use
and comorbidity reduction associated with head injury and/or a neurological disease disorder; 5 addressed
the association between statin use and nuclear cataract; 9 addressed the association between
statin use and prostate/colorectal cancer; 9 studies addressed the role of statin use in treating infections;
and 3 addressed the association between statin use and spinal cord injury related survival rate.
Conclusion: Overall, the literature supports beneficial pleiotropic effects of statin use in contrastinduced
nephropathy, head injury, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, nuclear cataract, prostate cancer,
infection management, and spinal cord injury. Further investigation is warranted, and randomized
clinical trials are needed to confirm the clinical utility suggested by the reported studies included in this