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Statins call for at-risk patients with rheumatoid arthritis

By Mark Pownall

Up to a quarter of patients who have rheumatoid arthritis but no cardiovascular disease have sufficiently high risk to warrant statin therapy - although most of them are not receiving them, say UK researchers.

A range of risk assessment tools – including Framingham – were applied to 400 patients with RA.

The percentage of patients indentified as being at risk varied widely according to the method used – from 1.6% for a 20% threshold global CVD risk – to 26% for five per cent CVD mortality.

But most of the patients identified as being at increased risk were not being treated. For example, in those identified at risk under Framingham only 20% were taking a statin.

Earlier this month new European guidelines recommended multiplying the CVD risk scores by 1.5 in patients with established inflammatory arthritis.

The authors of this study say: ‘This approach leads to the identification of considerably more at-risk patients - up to between four and 49%.'

But the fact that at least a half of patients remain not at risk argues against blanket use of statins in RA, they add.

Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, online 23 October

A range of risk assessment tools – including Framingham – were applied to 400 patients with RA A range of risk assessment tools – including Framingham – were applied to 400 patients with RA

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