Does Statin Use Increase Risk of Lupus?

Statin use does not increase risk of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in patients aged 40 years or older, a recent study showed.

In their study, the researchers evaluated 1,039,694 patients aged 40 years or older who were prescribed statins at least once between 1995 and 2009. Of these participants, 519,847 were statin users at baseline. Participants taking statins were matched with non-users by age, sex, practice, and date of first prescription.

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Follow-up was divided into periods of current, recent, and past exposure to statins, with patients moving among these 3 categories over time. Current statin users were further divided into subcategories of 1 year or less of use, or more than 1 year of use.

Hazard ratios (HRs) of SLE were determined via time-dependent Cox models, and were adjusted for disease history and previous drug exposure.

Results indicated that patients aged 40 years or older did not have an increased risk of developing SLE. Additionally, current statin users who continued therapy for more than 1 year demonstrated a 38% lower risk of developing SLE. However, this finding was not observed when more specific definitions for SLE were used.

“Our findings showed no effect of statins on the risk of developing SLE among patients aged [40 years or older],” the researchers concluded. “Further research is needed to study the long-term effects of statins on SLE.”

—Christina Vogt


De Jong HJI, van Staa TP, Lalmohamed A, et al. Pattern of risks of systemic lupus erythematosus among statin users: a population-based cohort study [Published online July 6, 2017]. Ann Rheum Dis. doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2016-210936.