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Stopping statin therapy increases cardiovascular risk in rheumatoid arthritis patients

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Individuals who have received unhealthy cholesterol test results and are taking statin medications may not want to suddenly stop treatment, particularly if they have rheumatoid arthritis. New evidence suggests that doing so may increase the risk of cardiovascular death in these patients.

Both heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis are characterized by high levels inflammation. In fact, numerous studies have indicated that individuals with arthritis are significantly more likely to also have heart disease.

For the study, researchers from the University of British Columbia analyzed the health records of more than 37,000 individuals that were collected from 1996 through 2006. The results showed that individuals with arthritis who discontinued statin use for three months or more were 60 percent more likely to die from cardiovascular causes and 79 percent more likely to die from any cause.

The researchers said the findings highlight the problem of poor medication compliance. Further, the results could help create guidelines for treating joint problems in individuals with cardiovascular conditions in the future.

"Our study findings emphasize the importance of medication compliance in rheumatoid arthritis patients who are prescribed statins," said lead researcher Mary De Vera.ADNFCR-2248-ID-800739965-ADNFCR

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