A new study has revealed that taking statins reduces the risk of developing the chronic inflammatory disease, rheumatoid arthritis.
The researchers studied 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.
After adjusting for factors that could bias the analysis, they found that patients who persistently took statins had a lower risk (risk ratio of 0.58) of developing rheumatoid arthritis compared with patients who did not.
However, there was only a small short-term decrease in risk ratio in patients taking statins and the development of osteoarthritis.
The authors conclude, "Larger, systematic, controlled, prospective studies with high efficacy statins, particularly in younger adults who are at increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis, 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 arthritis."
The findings are published in this week's PLoS Medicine.