Clustering of cardiovascular risk factors in rheumatoid arthritis: the rationale for using statins

Clin Exp Rheumatol. Jan-Feb 2007;25(1):102-11.


Atherosclerosis may be more prevalent and more extensive in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) compared with the general population. Despite the fact that traditional and novel cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors are clinically important in these patients, it seems that inflammation--a key feature of RA--plays a crucial role in atherogenesis. Reducing the CVD burden in patients with RA is a more complex process than in the general population, mostly due to inadequate inflammation suppression as well as multiple concomitant drug therapy. Furthermore, there is no current consensus on whether RA patients should be treated as individuals at high-risk for vascular events. Statins have proved their efficacy in reducing CVD events in the general population. Despite the fact that they are not specifically indicated in RA, there is evidence supporting a beneficial effect on CVD risk factors as well as disease activity and progression. The present review considers the traditional and novel as well as the RA-specific CVD risk factors. The current evidence supporting the use of statins in this patient population is also discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / adverse effects
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects
  • Antirheumatic Agents / adverse effects
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / complications*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy
  • Coronary Artery Disease / complications*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Odds Ratio
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Factors


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors