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Statins safe and effective for RA patients

Statins can be used safely and effectively in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) to manage both the symptoms of the disease and the associated cardiovascular risk, suggest the authors of a UK meta-analysis.

CV events are more common in those with RA, probably because both RA and CVD are driven by inflammation, say researchers at the Royal Free Hospital in London.

They reviewed data from nine trials studying statins in just over 4,000 patients with RA. The results suggest statin use was associated with a 20% reduction in the number of tender joints and a similar reduction in in joint swelling.

The authors say future large-scale randomized controlled trials should weigh the incidence of side effects against the beneficial effects of long-term routine statin treatment in patients with RA.

Clin Rheumatol 2008; 27: 281-287.

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