Statin Initiation Not Associated With Incident Hand Osteoarthritis

Statin potency and pneumonia hospitalization risk
Statin potency and pneumonia hospitalization risk
Researchers observed no association between statin initiation and incident hand osteoarthritis.

The initiation of statin therapy is not associated with an increased risk for the development of hand osteoarthritis (OA), regardless of age, gender, statin agent, statin dose, preexisting dyslipidemia, or duration of treatment, according to the results of a propensity score-matched sequential cohort study using data from the UK-based Clinical Practice Research Datalink. Findings from the analysis were published in Arthritis Care & Research.

The investigators identified patients aged 45 to 84 years from January 1996 through December 2015 with ≥1 new prescription for atorvastatin, fluvastatin, pravastatin, rosuvastatin, or simvastatin following a statin-free period of ≥3 years. Statin initiators were matched 1:1 on their propensity score with noninitiators within 10 sequential 2-year cohort entry blocks.

After a 180-day run-in period, participants were followed in an “as-treated” approach until they had a recorded diagnosis of hand OA or until censoring, defined as change in exposure status, development of an exclusion criterion, or reaching the maximum follow-up of 5.5 years.

Of 233,608 statin initiators and an equal number of noninitiators, an overall hazard ratio (HR) of hand OA of 0.98 (95% CI, 0.88-1.09) was reported. Among all subgroups, the null result remained unchanged. Results were similar for generalized OA and negative control outcomes. The active comparator analysis demonstrated a null result with an HR of hand OA of 0.85 (95% CI, 0.56-1.29).

Related Articles

The investigators concluded that statin therapy has no effect on an individual’s risk for hand OA. Further analyses, including the use of an active comparator group, along with several negative control outcomes, are warranted to validate this finding.

Disclosures: J. Bradley Layton is an employee of RTI International, an independent, nonprofit research organization which performs contract work for government and commercial clients, including pharmaceutical companies. Thomas Huegle has received consultancies, speaking fees, and honoraria <$10,000 from Eli Lilly, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Pfizer.

follow @RheumAdvisor


Burkard T, Huegle T, Layton JB, et al. The risk of incident osteoarthritis of the hand in statin initiators: a sequential cohort study [published online June 8, 2018]. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). doi: 10.1002/acr.23616