Older women taking statins may have an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis (OA). The researchers reported, however, that patients who already have the degenerative joint disease do not seem to be negatively affected by these drugs. In theory, the researchers noted that statins can lower the risk of OA because of their anti-inflammatory effects. Yet, their actual impact on OA is unknown.
The study included 5674 women 65 years and older. Of the participants, 7% took statins. At the study's onset, OAdetected by x-raywas present in 936 hips in 745 women, while 9318 hips had no indications of OA. After 8 years of follow-up, the researchers found that statin use was linked with a 92% increased risk of OA of the hip. Yet, the use of statins was not related to other measures of new disease. The researchers also witnessed a consistent trend toward slower progression in the statin group who had OA of the hip at the beginning of the study. (The findings were reported in the Journal of Rheumatology, January 2005.)