This site is intended for health professionals only


Regular statin use ‘reduces rheumatoid arthritis risk’



By Lilian Anekwe

Patients who show better adherence to statin therapy have a reduced risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, according to a retrospective study of patient records.

Researchers identified 405,000 new adult users of statins with no history of rheumatoid arthritis who had at least one prescription between 1998 and 2007 from patient records held in an Israeli medical database.

As a measure of adherence to statins, researchers calculated the mean proportion of days covered (PDC) by dividing the quantity of statins dispensed by the total time interval from the index date to either a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, leaving the database, or death – whichever event occurred first.

Amongst the 210,000 patients assessed for rheumatoid arthritis, the crude incidence rate of rheumatoid arthritis was 3.07 per 1,000 person-years. But the incidence was 51% lower in patients with the highest PDC than those with the lowest PDC.

After adjustment for potential confounders, patients with the highest PDC also had a 42% lower risk of developing new-onset rheumatoid arthritis than those with the lowest PDC.

Using higher efficacy statins reduced the risk by a non-significant 13% relative to lower efficacy statins.

Dr Gabriel Chodick, an epidemiologist at Tel Aviv University, Israel, concluded: ‘Persistence with statin treatment was associated with an ongoing decrement in the risk for contracting rheumatoid arthritis.’

PLoS Med 7(9): e1000336

Statins may prevent rheumatoid arthritis from developing