June 12, 2013
Statins Linked to Musculoskeletal Conditions, Injuries

Dallas—Statin users are more likely to have musculoskeletal conditions, arthropathies, and injuries, according to a new study using military health system data.

The original investigation, published online by JAMA Internal Medicine, said the association appeared strongest in physically active individuals.

While statin-associated muscle pain and weakness are well-documented, researchers from the Veteran Affairs North Texas Health Care System in Dallas sought to determine if adverse effects also included musculoskeletal issues and injuries.

Using data from San Antonio-based beneficiaries of TRICARE, the U.S. military health care system, investigators looked at the effect on musculoskeletal conditions based on statin use during the 2005 fiscal year.

For the study, patients were divided into two groups: 6,967 statin users for at least 90 days and the same number of nonusers.

“Musculoskeletal conditions, arthropathies, injuries and pain are more common among statin users than among similar nonusers. The full spectrum of statins’ musculoskeletal adverse events may not be fully explored, and further studies are warranted, especially in physically active individuals,” the authors write.

Statin users had a higher odds ratio (OR) for musculoskeletal disease diagnosis group 1 (all musculoskeletal diseases: OR, 1.19), for musculoskeletal disease diagnosis group 1b (dislocation/strain/sprain: OR, 1.13) and for musculoskeletal diagnosis group 2 (musculoskeletal pain: OR, 1.09), but not for musculoskeletal disease diagnosis group 1a (osteoarthritis/arthropathy: OR,1.07), according to study results for the propensity score–matched pairs.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study, using propensity score matching, to show that statin use is associated with an increased likelihood of diagnoses of musculoskeletal conditions, arthropathies and injuries,” the researchers note. “In our primary analysis, we did not find a statistically significant association between statin use and arthropathy; however, this association was statistically significant in all other analyses.”

The study’s conclusion adds that “these findings are concerning because starting statin therapy at a young age for primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases has been widely advocated.”

U.S. Pharmacist Social Connect