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Study: Statin Therapy May Reduce Risk of Osteoarthritis

Researchers point to drugs’ anti-inflammatory properties (May 29)

Regular use of cholesterol-lowering statins may reduce a person’s chances of developing osteoarthritis (OA), according to researchers at Keele University in the UK. The new findings were published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

The investigators reviewed the records of 16,609 patients, aged 40 years and older, at the Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Center to see whether they developed OA. The analysis showed that the use of high-dose statins for at least 2 years was associated with a significant reduction in clinical OA compared with statin non-users.

The highest statin dose — approximately 20 mg per day — was associated with an estimated 60% reduction in OA risk compared with non-users.

Larger increments in the dose of statins were also associated with a 40% reduction in OA risk over a 4-year period.

The reasons for the apparent link between statins and a reduced risk of OA are not yet clear, but the results may be due to the drugs’ anti-inflammatory properties.

A spokeswoman for Arthritis Research UK said: “We welcome this study as it contributes to the idea that osteoarthritis is not simply wear and tear as we get older, and that in the future drug treatments can offer hope. Osteoarthritis is an active disease that includes inflammation and active damage to the joint.”

Source: Keele University; May 29, 2013.

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