Cholesterol-lowering statin medication may help surgical wounds heal faster, according to a retrospective study published in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery.
The review of 20 studies on statins and surgical wound healing studies showed subjects who were given statins had a 30 percent faster rate of wound epithelialization and an 80 percent wound-breaking strength with faster wound healing rates. Most of the studies focused on laboratory animals; however, two studies were conducted on humans.
Researchers said there were various mechanisms by which statins can lower inflammation and improve the mechanical strength of a healing wound while promoting the growth of blood vessels leading to shorter healing times.
Wound healing can be an intricate and fragile process. Non-healing chronic wounds are more likely in people with various health conditions such as diabetes, venous or arterial disease, infection, and metabolic deficiencies associated with old age.
Statin medications, such as the brand name Lipitor, are widely used in the United States, and new guidelines proposed by medical groups are pushing for wider use of the drugs in an effort to prevent heart attacks, strokes and death.
However, the drugs carry side effects, some of which can be serious. The drugs have been linked to severe muscle injury, liver damage, and increases in blood sugar levels leading to type 2 diabetes. In fact, Pfizer, maker of Lipitor, is facing numerous lawsuits from people who claim Pfizer knew its blockbuster statin Lipitor could cause patients to develop type 2 diabetes, but say the drug company failed to adequately warn doctors and patients.
Source: New York Times