To examine the effect of intensive lipid-lowering therapy on a composite cardiovascular outcome (cardiovascular disease [CVD]), consisting of mortality and morbidity end points, in patients with inflammatory joint disease (rheumatoid arthritis [RA], ankylosing spondylitis [AS], or psoriatic arthritis [PsA]) by post hoc analysis of 2 prospective trials of statins with a secondary end point of CVD outcome (the Treating to New Targets [TNT] and Incremental Decrease in End Points Through Aggressive Lipid Lowering [IDEAL] studies).


Of the 18,889 patients participating in the 2 trials, 199 had RA, 46 had AS, and 35 had PsA. Lipid-lowering therapy consisted of an intensive regimen of atorvastatin 80 mg or a conventional/low-dose regimen of atorvastatin 10 mg or simvastatin 20–40 mg. The median duration of followup was nearly 5 years. Changes in lipid levels were examined by analyses of covariance. The effect on CVD was examined by Cox regression analyses, and heterogeneity tests were performed.


Patients with RA and those with AS had lower baseline cholesterol levels than patients without inflammatory joint disease (least squares mean ± SEM 180.7 ± 2.3 mg/dl and 176.5 ± 4.7 mg/dl, respectively, versus 185.6 ± 0.2 mg/dl; P = 0.03 and P = 0.05, respectively). Statin treatment led to a comparable decrease in lipid levels and a 20% reduction in overall risk of CVD in both patients with and those without inflammatory joint disease.


Our findings indicate that patients with and those without inflammatory joint disease experience comparable lipid-lowering effects and CVD risk reduction after intensive treatment with statins.