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Simvastatin treatment for patients with COPD and elevated CRP

32 months
Approved budget:
Associate Professor Robert Young
Health issue:
Proposal type:
Feasibility Study
Lay summary
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) results from smoking-induced damage to the lungs causing breathlessness, poor exercise endurance and fatigue. This reduction in exercise capacity is due to the combined effects of an exaggerated inflammatory response in the lungs and circulation (systemic inflammation). Current treatments for COPD are limited to inhaled therapies that have no direct effect on systemic inflammation. Systemic inflammation affects about 50% of patients treated for COPD, and directly contributes to poor exercise capacity. Cholesterol lowering drugs statins are well tolerated, potent inhibitors of systemic inflammation. In preliminary studies statins appear to improve exercise capacity, particularly in those with underlying systemic inflammation. We plan to confirm these findings in a large, randomised clinical trial to assess the effect of statins on exercise capacity. Prior to undertaking this, our feasibility study will evaluate the effect of different doses of statin on CRP, a marker of systemic inflammation in blood.