Statin therapy does not seem to benefit giant cell arteritis

Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2007 Apr;36(5):322-7. doi: 10.1016/j.semarthrit.2006.10.001. Epub 2007 Jan 3.


Objective: Since statins interfere with a variety of immune-inflammatory pathways shared by atherosclerosis and giant cell arteritis (GCA), they might be potentially useful as adjunctive therapy to glucocorticosteroids in GCA. Our aim was to examine whether concomitant use of statins had any potential benefit in GCA.

Methods: Retrospective follow-up study of an unselected population of 121 patients with GCA. A comparative analysis between patients with and without statin therapy was performed.

Results: At the time of the GCA diagnosis, 30 patients (25%) had already been receiving statins and continued taking them during the corticosteroid treatment. No statistically significant reduction in the incidence of severe ischemic complications (including visual manifestations, jaw claudication, cerebrovascular accidents, ischemic heart disease, and limb claudication due to large artery stenosis) was observed in this group compared with the remaining patients. When we analyzed follow-up data, we found no significant differences between groups in terms of frequency of relapses, incidence of aortitis, and percentage of patients recovered from GCA. The duration of therapy and corticosteroids requirements among patients in permanent remission was similar in both groups.

Conclusion: We did not observe a significant benefit derived from the use of statins at low to moderate doses in the incidence of severe ischemia or the disease outcome.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Giant Cell Arteritis / drug therapy*
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Remission Induction
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Failure


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors