Anti-Inflammatory Doses of NSAIDs Can Improve AS Symptoms

Statins, when taken with a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) at anti-inflammatory doses, can significantly reduce ankylosing spondylitis (AS) disease activity, according to a new study.


These results, concluded by study author Jonathan Dau and colleagues, were presented at the 2018 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting on October 21.


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To reach their conclusion, the researchers analyzed 814 patients with AS with modified New York Criteria who also had at least one year of clinical follow-up with statin usage. Those patients were then classified into high- (n = 10), moderate- (n = 65), and low- (n = 11) intensity statins based on the 2013 American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology Treatment of Cholesterol Guidelines.


At baseline, 86 patients were on a statin.


While initially the researchers found that statin usage alone was not significantly associated with Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index (BASDAI) scores, secondary analysis showed that NSAID usage along was associated with a higher BASDAI score.


According to the study, of patients with an NSAID index of 50% or more, BASDAI score was 32% lower for low-intensity statin use compared with no statin use and 18% lower for high-intensity statin use compared with no statin use.


“Statins, when taken with NSAIDs at anti-inflammatory doses, were associated with a significant reduction in AS disease activity,” the researchers concluded. “TNFi may mask the anti-inflammatory effect of statins. Future studies will require more patients to confirm the effect.”


Colleen Murphy



Dau J, Gensler LS, Lee M, et al. Association of statin usage with disease activity in ankylosing spondylitis. Paper presented at: 2018 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting; October 19-24, 2018; Chicago IL. Accessed October 17, 2018.