Rheumatoid Arthritis Mortality Rates Increase When Statins Are Stopped

Patients with rheumatoid arthritis who stop taking their statins are at an increased risk of death according to a recently study conducted by Mary A. De Vera, PhD, of the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada in Vancouver.

Dr. De Vera and her colleagues found that patients who discontinued statin therapy were at a 60% increased chance of dying from cardiovascular mortality.

The study which was reported in Arthritis Care & Research also revealed that statin users were at a 79% increase in all-cause mortality.

Because rheumatoid arthritis sufferers have twice the risk of cardiovascular mortality statins are prescribed to help them lower cholesterol and prevent ischemic heart disease.

To examine the impact of stopping statin treatments researchers analyzed data collected from 37,000 patients with rheumatoid arthritis in British Columbia. The team of researchers then found that 4,102 of those patients had been prescribed statins.

According to MedPage:

Mean age of the patients was 66.6 years, and mean disease duration was 19 months. A total of 60% were women. During 16,144 person-years of follow-up, 45.4% of patients discontinued taking a statin. And during a mean follow-up of 4 years, there were 467 deaths from any cause and 198 deaths from cardiovascular disease. Among patients who died of cardiovascular disease, the most common causes were acute myocardial infarction in 31.3%, ischemic heart disease in 30.8%, and cerebrovascular accidents in 15.2%.

Researchers also included other risk factors for cardiovascular death which includes older age, previous myocardial infarction, sse of antihypertensive medications, use of heart failure medications and being male.

The research also revealed that the chance of dying after stopping statins increased by 0.4% for each month following the stopping of statin treatment.

Researchers also found that other treatments could increase or reduce the chance of mortality. For example corticosteroids doubled the risk while methotrexate saw mortality rates havled.

According to the research statins show a positive trend against mortality because they can help lower cholesterol and have immune modulation and anti-inflammatory effects.