Background: To evaluate the effect of statin use on osteoarthritis (OA) incidence/progression using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in a population-based cohort with predominantly pre-radiographic knee OA.
Methods: A cohort aged 40-79 years with knee pain was recruited using random population sampling and followed for 7 years. Baseline exclusions were inflammatory arthritis, recent knee surgery/injury, and inability to undergo MRI. At baseline, current statin use was ascertained. Baseline and follow-up MRIs were read semi-quantitatively for cartilage damage (grade 0-4, 0/1 collapsed, 6 regions), osteophytes (grade 0-3, 8 regions), bone marrow lesions (BML) (grade 0-3, 6 regions) and effusion (grade 0-3). The primary outcome was cartilage damage incidence/progression, while secondary outcomes were incidence/progression of osteophytes, BML, and effusion, each defined as an increase by ≥1 grade at any region. To ensure population representative samples, sample weights were used. Logistic regression was used to assess the association of statin use at baseline with incidence/progression of MRI outcomes. Analyses were adjusted for sex, age, BMI, and multiple comorbidities requiring statin therapy.
Results: Of 255 participants evaluated at baseline, 122 completed the 7-year follow-up. Statin use was not significantly associated with progression of cartilage damage (OR 0.82; 95% CI 0.17, 4.06), osteophytes (OR 3.48; 95% CI 0.40, 30.31), BML (OR 0.61; 95% CI 0.12, 3.02), or effusion (OR 2.38; 95% CI 0.42, 13.63), after adjusting for confounders.
Conclusion: In this population-based cohort of predominantly pre-radiographic knee OA, statins did not affect MRI incidence/progression of cartilage damage, BML, osteophytes or effusion. Therefore, statin use does not appear to affect people with pre-radiographic stages of knee OA.
Keywords: Cartilage; Diagnostic imaging; Magnetic resonance imaging; Osteoarthritis; Statins.
© 2022. The Author(s).