RA Drug Does Not Alter Cholesterol Ratio
Patients taking Remicade (infliximab) for rheumatoid arthritis(RA) showed not only an improvement in their condition but alsoa dramatic increase in both high-density lipoprotein (HDL;"good") cholesterol and total cholesterol. Researcher Michael T.Nurmohamed, MD, noted that, "contrary to expectations,"thesechanges do not positively alter the ratio between total cholesteroland HDL cholesterol, referred to as the atherogenic index."Hence, the favorable effect of infliximab on the cardiovascularrisk in patients with rheumatoid arthritis is not mediated throughmodification of the lipid profile,"said Dr. Nurmohamed.
For the study, the researchers examined 69 patients with RAto determine the short-term effects of infliximab on cholesterollevels. The results of the study showed that total cholesterol rosefrom 5.2 to 5.6 units after 6 weeks, while HDL cholesterolincreased from 1.4 to 1.6. (The findings were published in theJournal of Rheumatology, February 2005.)