Special Theme Articles: Mobility and the Rheumatic Diseases
Is Statin Use Associated With New Joint-Related Symptoms, Physical Function, and Quality of Life? Results From Two Population-Based Cohorts of Women
Previous studies have suggested that statins may prevent development of osteoarthritis and have antiinflammatory effects. Our aim was to examine the associations between statin use and patient-reported joint symptoms in 2 large cohorts of middle-aged and older women.
Data were from 6,966 middle-aged (born 1946–1951) and 4,806 older (born 1921–1926) participants in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health who completed surveys from 2001 to 2011, including questions about joint pain/stiffness, physical functioning, and self-rated health (SRH). Administrative pharmaceutical data were used to classify participants according to statin use, cumulative volume of statin use, and type of drug. Associations between statin use and newly reported symptoms were analyzed using logistic regression with generalized estimating equations to account for repeated measures.
A total of 2,096 (31.3%) of the middle-aged women and 2,473 (51.5%) of the older women were classified as statin users. After adjustment for confounders, statin use in middle-aged women was weakly associated with poor physical functioning (odds ratio [OR] 1.29, 99% confidence interval [99% CI] 1.07–1.55) and poor SRH (OR 1.35, 99% CI 1.13–1.61), but not with new joint pain/stiffness (OR 1.09, 99% CI 0.88–1.34). No dose-response relationships were found. Pravastatin and atorvastatin were associated with poor physical functioning, while atorvastatin was also associated with poor SRH. Associations found in older women were mostly explained by confounders.
This large study did not demonstrate an association between statin use and reduced onset of joint pain/stiffness. Associations between statin use and poor physical functioning and poor SRH may be explained by factors other than joint pain/stiffness, e.g., muscle pain.