Statin use is linked to fewer foot infections in new study

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Using a statin for at least 90 days reduced diabetic foot ulcers.
Using a statin for at least 90 days reduced diabetic foot ulcers.

Prior therapy with atorvastatin considerably reduces the onset of diabetic foot infections and may be useful in preventing them, according to Iranian researchers.

In a two-year study involving 233 patients, the team showed previous atorvastatin use reduced the odds of developing a foot infection by 36%. In addition, severe cases, bone involvement and the need for surgical intervention were slightly lowered.

Using the statin for at least three months made the most impact. 

Full results were published in the online version of Wounds in April.

The researchers, led by Mohammad Nassaji, M.D., at Iran's Semnan University of Medical Sciences, set out to explore whether statins can help lower morbidity related to infections in addition to their lipid-lowering abilities. Several previous studies indicated statins can restore ischemic limb blood flow by reducing oxidative stress.

“Since ischemia plays an important role in the development of diabetic foot ulcers and DFIs, improving oxygenation and tissue perfusion can help to prevent and better treat DFIs,” the team reported. 

It's unclear whether the drugs' side-effects are related to its immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory or tissue-protecting properties. 

The researchers suggested that clinical studies are needed to better understand the relationship.