OBJECTIVES: We evaluated whether statins have anti-arrhythmic effects by exploring the association of statin use with appropriate implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) therapy for ventricular tachycardia/ventricular fibrillation (VT/VF) in the Multicenter Automatic Defibrillator Implantation Trial (MADIT)-II. BACKGROUND: A few studies have suggested that lipid-lowering drugs may have anti-arrhythmic effects in patients with coronary artery disease. METHODS: Patients receiving an ICD (n = 654; U.S. centers only) in the MADIT-II study were categorized by the percentage of days each patient received statins during follow-up (90% to 100%, n = 386; 11% to 89%, n = 116; and 0% to 10%, n = 152). The Kaplan-Meier method with significance testing by the log-rank statistic and time-dependent proportional hazards regression analysis were used to evaluate the effect of statin use on the probability of ICD therapy for the combined end point VT/VF or cardiac death and for the end point VT/VF. RESULTS: The cumulative rate of ICD therapy for VT/VF or cardiac death, whichever occurred first, was significantly reduced in those with > or =90% statin usage compared to those with lower statin usage (p = 0.01). The time-dependent statin:no statin therapy hazard ratio was 0.65 (p < 0.01) for the end point of VT/VF or cardiac death and 0.72 (p = 0.046) for VT/VF after adjusting for relevant covariates. CONCLUSIONS: Statin use in patients with an ICD was associated with a reduction in the risk of cardiac death or VT/VF, whichever occurred first, and was associated with a reduction in VT/VF episodes. These findings suggest that statins have anti-arrhythmic properties.