Statins are associated with lower risk of gastrointestinal bleeding in patients with unstable coronary syndromes: Analysis of the Orbofiban in Patients with Unstable coronary Syndromes–Thrombolysis In Myocardial Infarction 16 (OPUS-TIMI 16) trial

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Abstract

Background

It has recently been shown that statins increase the myocardial content of prostaglandin (PG) I2 (prostacyclin) and PGE2. A systemic increase of PG production may protect the gastric mucosa and prevent gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding. We hypothesized that statins would lower the risk of GI bleeding associated with antiplatelet therapy in patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS).

Methods

We retrospectively analyzed data on 10 288 patients with ACS included in the OPUS-TIMI 16 trial and received aspirin and either the oral IIb/IIIa inhibitor orbofiban or placebo.

Results

Inhospital GI bleeding rate was significantly lower in patients who were receiving lipid-lowering drugs before admission compared with those who were not (0.2% vs 0.6%, P = .031). Throughout 10 months of follow-up, GI bleeding occurred in 1.8% of non–statin users compared with 1.0% of statin users (P = .001). Statin use was associated with less overall bleeding in both the orbofiban (1.4% vs 2.4%, P = .006) and the placebo groups (0.2% vs 0.8%, P = .047). Severe and major bleeding occurred less frequently with statin use (0.8% vs 1.5%, P = .001) in both the orbofiban (1.1% vs 2.0%, P = .006) and the placebo groups (0.1% vs 0.5%, P = .119). Logistic regression analysis showed that age >65 years, orbofiban treatment, Killip class >1, history of cerebrovascular disease, and calcium-channel blocker use were associated with higher risk of GI bleeding, whereas statin therapy was associated with a lower risk (odds ratio 0.68, 95% CI 0.45–1.04, P = .079).

Conclusions

Statins may exert protective effect against GI bleeding in patients with ACS. Additional studies are warranted to explore this additional potential benefit of statins.

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