RA Patients: Don't Quit Your Statins

Rheumatoid arthritis patients who quit statin therapy may have higher cardiovascular mortality

(RxWiki News) When you stop taking a medication, your body can react poorly to the change. This may be the case for arthritis patients who stop taking a type of cholesterol-lowering drug.

Rheumatoid arthritis patients who stop taking statins may have a higher risk of death.

"Talk to your doctor before changing any medication."

People with rheumatoid arthritis have an increased risk of dying from heart-related problems, compared to the rest of the population. For this reason, these patients are often prescribed statins, a class of drugs that lower cholesterol levels and prevent stroke.

Mary A. De Vera, Ph.D., from the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada in Vancouver, British Columbia, and colleagues recently studied what can happen with rheumatoid arthritis patients stop taking statins.

After stopping statin treatment, patients had a 60 percent higher risk of dying from heart-related causes. The risk of dying from all causes increased by 79 percent after quitting statin treatment.

"These population-based data indicate that statin discontinuation in [rheumatoid arthritis] patients is associated with increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease and all causes," the authors conclude.

These findings highlight why it is important for arthritis patients to stick to there prescribed statin treatment, they write.

Quitting treatment without first talking to your doctor could be harmful to your health. Having a conversation with your doctor could save you from serious harm.

This study - which included 4,102 statin users - was funded by the CanadianInstitutes of Health Research, the Canadian Arthritis Network/The Arthritis Society of Canada, and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.

The results were published May 25 in Arthritis Care & Research

Review Date: 
March 28, 2012