Statins May Be Warranted in Some Kids With Systemic Lupus
Since a child started on a statin would presumably be on the drug for life, and statins can carry long-term side effects and a high price tag, the drawbacks of routine use in children with lupus outweigh the benefits, she says.
"That doesn't mean statins should never be used in kids with lupus," Schanberg says. Statins use may be warranted in children with very high cholesterol and those with kidney disease, both of which are independent risk factors for cardiovascular disease, she says
Timothy Niewold, MD, a lupus expert at the University of Chicago, tells WebMD that further study should offer insights into which children with lupus may benefit from statins.
"Lupus is a very heterogeneous disease. This is the largest study to date on this issue and subgroups analyses should tell us for which children statins are economic and sensible," he says.
While the researchers only looked at Lipitor, there is no reason to believe the findings don't apply to other statins as well, the researchers say.
Schanberg is on the advisory board for Pfizer, which makes Lipitor.
This study was presented at a medical conference. The findings should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.