Regular statin use is associated with a reduced risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis

September 7, 2010, Public Library of Science

There is an association between taking statins (lipid lowering drugs), and reduced risk of developing the chronic inflammatory disease, rheumatoid arthritis. These are the findings of a study by Gabriel Chodick and colleagues, published in this week's PLoS Medicine.

The researchers conducted a retrospective cohort study among the 1.8-million members of Maccabi Healthcare Services (a health maintenance organization [HMO]) in Israel to identify adults who regularly took statins and did not have rheumatoid arthritis. Using Maccabi's large automated datasets, the researchers then analyzed diagnostic codes to assess the incidence of newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis in this group between 1998 and 2007. To assess any potential bias, the researchers also examined any possible association between persistent statin use and the development of osteoarthritis, a common that is unlikely to be affected by statin use.

During the study follow-up period, there were 2,578 incident cases of rheumatoid arthritis and 17,878 incident cases of osteoarthritis. The unadjusted rate of rheumatoid arthritis among patients who did not persistently take statins was 51% higher than that of patients who used statins for at least 80% of the follow-up period. After adjusting for other possible confounders, patients who persistently took statins had a lower risk (risk ratio of 0.58) of developing rheumatoid arthritis compared with patients who did not persistently take statins. There was only a small short term decrease in risk ratio in patients taking statins and the development of osteoarthritis. (hazard ratio of 0.85)

This work needs to be confirmed in other populations before its clinical significance, if any, is clear. As the authors conclude: "Larger, systematic, controlled, prospective studies with high efficacy statins, particularly in younger adults who are at increased risk of , are needed to confirm these findings and to clarify the exact nature of the biological relationship between adherence to statin therapy and the incidence of rheumatoid ."

More information: Chodick G, Amital H, Shalem Y, Kokia E, Heymann AD, et al. (2010) Persistence with Statins and Onset of Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Population-Based Cohort Study. PLoS Med 7(9): e1000336. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000336

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Past encounters with the flu shape vaccine response

February 20, 2018
New research on why the influenza vaccine was only modestly effective in recent years shows that immune history with the flu influences a person's response to the vaccine.

Building better tiny kidneys to test drugs and help people avoid dialysis

February 16, 2018
A free online kidney atlas built by USC researchers empowers stem cell scientists everywhere to generate more human-like tiny kidneys for testing new drugs and creating renal replacement therapies.

Expanding Hepatitis C testing to all adults is cost-effective and improves outcomes

February 16, 2018
According to a new study, screening all adults for hepatitis C (HCV) is a cost-effective way to improve clinical outcomes of HCV and identify more infected people compared to current recommendations. Using a simulation model, ...

Study suggests expanded range for emerging tick-borne disease

February 16, 2018
Human cases of Borrelia miyamotoi, a tick-borne infection with some similarities to Lyme disease, were discovered in the eastern United States less than a decade ago. Now new research led by the Yale School of Public Health ...

Flu shot only 36 percent effective, making bad year worse (Update)

February 15, 2018
The flu vaccine is doing a poor job protecting older Americans and others against the bug that's causing most illnesses.

IFN-mediated immunity to influenza A virus infection influenced by RIPK3 protein

February 15, 2018
Each year, influenza kills half a million people globally with the elderly and very young most often the victims. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 37 children have died in the United States ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.