Efficacy of statins in combination with interferon therapy in multiple sclerosis: a meta-analysis

Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2012 Sep 1;69(17):1494-9. doi: 10.2146/ajhp110675.


Purpose: The efficacy of statins in combination with interferon therapy in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) is reviewed.

Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted through September 2011 to identify randomized controlled trials that evaluated the effect of combination statin-interferon therapy compared with interferon therapy alone in patients with MS. Trials had to report at least one of the following outcomes of interest: clinical relapse rate, disease progression, or Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score. A random-effects model was used to pool data. Trial quality was assessed using the Jadad score.

Results: Four unique trials were included in the analysis (n = 463 subjects; range of follow-up, 9-24 months), all with a Jadad score of ≥3. All trials evaluated patients with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS). Most trials enrolled patients taking interferon beta therapy either twice or three times weekly. The mean baseline EDSS scores ranged from 1.2 to 3.4. Evaluated statins included simvastatin and atorvastatin. No significant difference was found between the statin and control groups in the incident rate ratio for clinical relapse (0.72; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.17 to 3.11), risk of relapse (relative risk [RR], 0.99; 95% CI, 0.53 to 1.85], disease progression (RR, 1.31; 95% CI, 0.73 to 2.36), or difference in the change in the EDSS score from baseline (weighted mean difference, -0.06; 95% CI, -0.30 to 0.19).

Conclusion: A meta-analysis revealed that the addition of statins to interferon therapy did not significantly influence the relapse risk, disease progression, or EDSS scores in patients with RRMS.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disease Progression
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / methods
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Interferon-beta / administration & dosage
  • Interferon-beta / therapeutic use*
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / drug therapy*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Recurrence


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Interferon-beta