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Studies on statin use and fracture risk show mixed results

CHICAGO A review of previous studies suggests a possible benefit of statin drugs for reducing the risk of bone fracture in older women, although further research is needed to examine this question, according to an article in the January 26 issue of The Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

According to the article, statins are widely used to treat high cholesterol, but little information is available about the effects of statins on bone. Some retrospective studies have found that statin use is associated with a reduced risk for fracture, and other studies suggest that bone mass is higher in people taking statin medications.

Douglas C. Bauer, M.D., from the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues investigated whether statin use is associated with a reduced risk for bone fracture. The researchers analyzed combined data on statin use and fracture rates from four large prospective studies of older women (the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures, the Fracture Intervention Trial, the Heart and Estrogen/Progestin Replacement Study, and the Rotterdam Study). They also summarized the results of eight observational studies and two clinical trials (found by searching English-language medical literature through January 2002) that reported statin use and documented fractures.

Statin use ranged from less than 1 percent of participants in the Rotterdam Study, to greater than 26 percent in the Heart and Estrogen/Progestin Replacement Study. After the researchers adjusted data to take into account age, body mass index, and estrogen use, they found that there was a trend towards fewer hip fractures (38 percent to 81 percent lower risk) and to a lesser extent, nonspine fractures (5 percent to 51 percent lower risk) among statin users in each of the four large studies. The researchers' analysis of the observational studies was consistent with these findings, with an estimated 57 percent reduction in hip fractur
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Contact: Eve Harris
415-885-7277
JAMA and Archives Journals
26-Jan-2004


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